Turkey 101

Turkey 101

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It’s Thanksgiving time again. If you haven’t bought your turkey yet, here are some tips for you (buying, thawing, cooking, servings, etc.)…….

8-12 lb. turkey:  Thaw 2-3 days in the fridge, Baking time (at 325 degrees) is 2 3/4 – 3 hours, # of servings is 8-12, you need 2-3 packages of Stove Top stuffing to serve

12-14 lb. turkey: Thaw 3-3 1/2 days in the fridge, Baking time (at 325 degrees) is 3 – 3 3/4 hours, # of servings is 12-14, you need 3-4 packages of Stove Top stuffing to serve

14-18 lb. turkey: Thaw 3 1/2-4 1/2 days in fridge, Baking time (at 325 degrees) is 3 3/4-4 1/4 hours, # of servings
is 14-18, you need 4-5 packages of Stove Top stuffing to serve


When ThawingThaw the turkey in the unopened wrapper, breast-side up, on a tray in the refrigerator. See above chart for thawing times.

When PreparingRemove neck and excess fat and giblets from chest cavity (or do like I do & get someone else to do this part for you). 

Rinse cavity and outside of turkey with cold water. Blot with paper towels.

Season cavity and area under the skin with salt, pepper and any herbs you like. I like to stuff mine with fresh rosemary sprigs from my garden as well as some lemon slices!  (If your family tradition calls for stuffing the bird, be sure to use a meat thermometer and that it registers 165 degrees inside the bird to consider it done.

Help the bird cook evenly by making it as compact as possible. Tuck the legs under the bottom of the bird.

Gravy is most flavorful if the turkey is cooked on a bed of carrots, celery, and onions. Quarter the onions, peel and trim the carrots and celery, but do not chop. Lay carrots and celery in a lattice pattern with the onions in between on the bottom of a large roasting pan and place turkey on top of the veggies.

Brush the skin of the turkey with vegetable or olive oil to prevent it from drying out during roasting. I sprinkle some salt and pepper on the skin as well.

Insert a meat thermometer deep into the thickest part of the breast. Make sure it does not touch the bone. If you don’t have a meat thermometer that can stay in the oven, you can also check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer near the end of the estimated roasting time. The breast should read 160 degrees. Many turkeys now come with pop-up “tabs” or “thermometers” that pop when they are done.

Resting: Remove turkey from oven. Place on a cutting board resting in a large cafeteria style tray with a lip or on a flat aluminum foil tray.

Tent the cooked turkey with foil. Let stand for 15-20 minutes. This resting time allows to saturate the meat evenly for the most tender turkey.

Carving: Carve the turkey in the kitchen or the dinner table. Start by carving off the legs and wings then move to slicing the breast portions. LOTS of helpful turkey carving tips are available on the internet for you to watch!

Serving: Decorate your platter by placing fresh, edible herbs, such as rosemary or sage, around the turkey. Citrus twists, citrus fans or citrus curls are easy are easy and colorful additions too.


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