Cooking the perfect turkey for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any special dinner occasion has always been about two things: time and luck. Choosing between a fresh or a frozen turkey is often the first step. You can buy a fresh turkey a day before you need it and still be able to use it. A frozen bird will need to be defrosted, in the refrigerator, one day per every five pounds of turkey frozen. Theoretically you can defrost one in a cold water bath, allowing 30 minutes per pound.
Once your turkey is ready to be cooked you will need to prepare the turkey for roasting. Remove the giblets and rinse the turkey well. You can either stuff the turkey with Ã?Â½ cup of stuffing per pound of turkey, or you can leave unstuffed. Brush the outer skin with margarine that has been melted and tuck the drumsticks together and truss with string. Insert a meat thermometer to the thickest area of the thigh meat. Even if you buy a turkey with a “popper” timer, I would still use the thermometer to assure your bird is thoroughly done and to avoid any sickness from undercooking.
Place your turkey in a roasting pan and preheat your oven to 350F. Your turkey will roast according to the How to Roast a Turkey : Cooking Times Needed chart below. Once the skin is a light brown, you will tent some foil over the turkey so that it doesn’t get overdone. Basting is not a mandatory step, but it will leave you with a tastier and jucier bird. When the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180F by the meat thermometer it should be done. Remove from your oven and let stand for 30 minutes to cool a bit while you prepare your other side dishes.
How to Roast a Turkey : Supplies Needed:
How to Roast a Turkey : Cooking Times Needed:
Weight of Bird 10 to 18 pounds
Roasting Time (Unstuffed) 3 to 3-1/2 hours
Roasting Time (Stuffed) 3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
Weight of Bird 15 to 22 pounds
Roasting Time (Unstuffed) 3-1/2 to 4 hours
Roasting Time (Stuffed) 4-1/2 to 5 hours
Weight of Bird 22 to 24 pounds
Roasting Time (Unstuffed) 4 to 4-1/2 hours
Roasting Time (Stuffed) 5 to 5-1/2 hours
Weight of Bird 24 to 29 pounds
Roasting Time (Unstuffed) 4-1/2 to 5 hours
Roasting Time (Stuffed) 5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours
How to Roast a Turkey : Starter Recipe:
Roasted Herb Turkey Breast
1 (5 1/2 pound) turkey breast, fresh or frozen, thawed
4 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
2 teaspoons Seasoned Salt
3/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350F and place turkey breast on a shallow roasting pan. Spread the next three ingredients, the dry seasonings, onto the entire turkey breast. Roast 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the inside reaches 170F. Make sure you tent the cover foil during the first hour. When you remove the foil after the first hour, add water to the pan. Occasionally for the next hour, baste with the juices. Remove turkey and let stand, loosely covered with the foil for 15 minutes. Serve.