How To Cook a Turkey


Can you leave turkey out overnight to thaw?

Turkey, which, if left out, will take hours to thaw completely. If you thaw raw meat at room temperature for two hours or more, it will be subject to rapid bacteria growth. Is thawing a turkey at room temperature a good idea? Nope.

What happens if turkey isn’t completely thawed?

It’s perfectly safe to cook a frozen or partially frozen turkey — you just need to allow some extra cooking time. Estimate 50 percent longer cooking time for a completely frozen turkey and around 25 percent longer for a partially frozen turkey.

How do you know when your turkey is completely thawed?

Use a probe thermometer to test both the breast and the thighs; they should be at least 32°F to 40°F, or about the same temperature as your fridge. Be sure to clean your probe thermometer after inserting it in the raw turkey!

Do you leave the plastic ring on the turkey?

Speaking of plastic, turkeys usually come with a plastic or metal crimp, called a hock lock, holding the legs together at the back. You can leave it on or take it off; the legs may cook more evenly without it. Rinse the turkey thoroughly in cold water, inside and out.

How long to cook a turkey at 350°:

  1. 8–12 lb.: 1¾–3 hours.
  2. 12–14 lb.: 3–3¼ hours.
  3. 15–16 lb.: 3½–3¾ hours.
  4. 18–20 lb.: 4–4¼ hours.
  5. 21–22 lb.: 4½–4¾ hours.

Roast the turkey uncovered at a temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F. Higher temperatures may cause the meat to dry out, but this is preferable to temperatures that are too low which may not allow the interior of the turkey to cook to a safe temperature.

Should I cover my turkey with foil while cooking?

We’ve found that covering a turkey in foil yields much moister results than roasting it without foil, and we favor simply covering up the breast to even out cooking time. Some people swear that roasting a turkey breast-side down and flipping it halfway through achieves the same results as a foil covered breast.

Should you put water in turkey roasting pan?

Add about a half-inch of liquid (water or stock) to the roasting pan. This will keep the oven moist, and the turkey juicy. This aromatic liquid can be used to baste the turkey while it cooks (there is a debate whether basting does anything, but it’s part of the tradition).

How often should I baste my turkey?

Most recipes will tell you to baste your turkey every thirty minutes. But our rule of thumb is actually every forty minutes, and here’s why. You don’t want to open the oven too many times, or else the whole bird will take much long to cook, and that’s a huge inconvenience.

How do you prepare a turkey the night before?

Leaving your bird uncovered in the fridge for 8-10 hours before cooking dries out the skin, which will give it that beautifully browned, extra-crispy exterior that we all dream about.

Don’t butter your bird

Placing butter under the skin won’t make the meat juicier, though it might help the skin brown faster. However, butter is about 17 percent water, and it will make your bird splotchy, says López-Alt. Instead, rub the skin with vegetable oil before you roast.

How long before cooking should I take turkey out of fridge?

Get your turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it. You’ll get less shrinkage when it goes into a hot oven. Always preheat your oven for at least 20 minutes before cooking your turkey. Place a trivet of veggies and onions in the bottom of the tray to help make an epic gravy with all the juices.

Should I cook the turkey on a rack or directly on the pan?

Whether we’re talking a 20-pound turkey, a fryer chicken, or even something like a leg of lamb, a rack helps lift the roast away from direct heat of the pan and allows hot air to circulate underneath. The roast cooks more evenly and tends to develop a crispier skin.

Should you poke holes in turkey before cooking?

Poke holes all over the turkey, the legs, wings, breast and butt. 

About Kevin

Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-UPI, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Trustee RD 2137, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction
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