Thursday, November 25, 2010
What is the best way to defrost a turkey?
You can thaw a frozen turkey three ways.
(1) You can move it to the refrigerator (allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds)
(2) set it in a cold water bath (allow approximately 30 minutes per pound)
(3) defrost it in the microwave (check your owner’s manual for the size of the turkey that will fit in your microwave, the suggested power level, and the minutes per pound).
NOTE: It is possible to roast your turkey from the frozen state but the cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than the estimated times for roasting a thawed or fresh turkey.
How big of a turkey should I buy?
Generally the rule of thumb is to allow 1 pound of turkey per person, so it you are expecting around 15 guests, you might want to look for a 15 pound turkey.
At what temperature do you cook a turkey?
Set your oven to no lower than 325 degrees.
How long do you cook your turkey?
This depends on the size of your bird and whether or not it is stuffed. Generally, to be extra cautious food safety-wise… I suggest roasting your turkey without stuffing and cooking and serving your stuffing separately.
Here is the timetable for roasting turkey without stuffing at 325 degrees F:
4 to 8 pounds = 1 1/2 to 3 1/4 hours
8 to 12 pounds = 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds = 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds = 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds = 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds = 4 1/2 to 5 hours
How do you know when your turkey is done?
Only by using a food thermometer can you accurately determine that meat has reached a safe temperature. A whole turkey must reach 180 degrees in the innermost part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast. If you have stuffing in the turkey, the center of the stuffing must reach 165 degrees.
What’s the difference between a regular turkey you get at the grocery store and a fresh turkey?
If you are using a fresh turkey you should buy your turkey 1 to 2 days before you plan to cook it and keep it stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it. If you buy a frozen turkey, you can keep it frozen until you are ready to thaw it.
Two final turkey tips…
Always wash absolutely everything that comes in contact with the raw turkey and its juices (hands, utensils, the kitchen counter and sink, etc.) with hot soapy water.
Oh and by the way…make sure you reach inside the raw bird with tongs or a fork to grab that bag of giblets before your put it in the oven!
-- WebMD "Last Minute Turkey Safety Tips"