Recipe type: Misc.
- Proper turkey preparation is vital to a well cooked bird. First you must determine what size turkey to purchase, then make sure you place your turkey order one to three weeks ahead of time. The second matter of consideration is which method of turkey preparation you will use. Third, how long will it take for your turkey to roast, don’t forget the 20 to 30 minutes required for the turkey to rest before your fourth and final step, carving. (See the “Other Category” of this web-site for Turkey Brining Solution, Turkey Injection Marinade, and Turkey Herbed Butter recipes.)
- What Size Turkey to Purchase: One to one and a quarter pounds per person will allow for a plentiful dinner and ample leftovers.
- Prior to preparing your turkey, your bird should sit at room temperature 1 to 1½ hours. If you will be stuffing your turkey, make sure you stuff it loosely since it will expand while cooking. Your bird should be stuffed just prior to cooking and all the stuffing should be removed prior to serving. Stuffing allowed to sit in the turkey at room temperature longer than just described may grow harmful bacteria. A final word of caution, as with all poultry, wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and preparation surfaces thouroughly with soap and warm water after handeling.
- Methods of Turkey Preparation: A. Injecting your turkey with a marinade. This method involves purchasing a flavor injector which is to be used prior to roasting your turkey. Flavor injecting your turkey ensures a moist and flavorful turkey for your holiday table. B. Rubbing your turkey with a butter and herb compound. To make this compound, you simply combine a room temperature stick of butter with your favorite herbs (we suggest Herb from Provence) and salt and pepper to taste. Two thirds of this mixture should be rubbed under the skin, and the balance on the outside of the bird before cooking. During the roasting, the butter compound melts into the meat while the skin becomes crisp and golden-brown. The result, a moist and flavorful turkey with rich pan drippings exceptional for a delectible gravy. C. Brining your turkey, an overnight marination process in the refrigerator with a brining bag. The brining solution is a mixture of water, salt, herbs, garlic and spices.
- Trussing an Unstuffed or Stuffed Turkey: Trussing or tying a turkey allows for an evenly cooked bird. Trussing enables the turkey to maintain its shape which aides in carving once the twine is removed. A. Unstuffed Turkey: Place the turkey breast side up. Cross the legs at the ankle and loop the twine over, around and under where the legs are crossed several times. Make a secure knot and cut off excess twine. Tuck the wings under the body at the first joint. B. Stuffed Turkey: Once the body and neck have been loosely stuffed, pass trussing pins through the skin on both sides of the cavity. Lace the kitchen twine back and forth starting at the top pin as though lacing shoes. Pull the twine snug and knot. Pull the neck skin over the dressing and fasten it underneath with another trussing pin. Follow the same method as above to secure the legs and wings.
- Choosing the proper size roasting pan: The following chart is a great guide in choosing the correct size pan for your turkey. Up to 12 lb turkey requires a 14″ x 10″ x 2¾” roasting pan, up to a 16 lb turkey requires a 15¼ ” x 12″ x3″ pan, and up to a 20 lb turkey requires a 16″ x 13″ x 3″ pan. Always put your tukey on a rack so that your turkey will roast evenly.
- What temperature and how long should you cook your turkey: Place your turkey in a preheated 425 degree oven, breast side down for 25 minutes. Flip your bird (breast side up) and continue roasting at 350 degrees until the thickest part of the thigh meat reaches 171 degrees, & the breast meat & stuffing reaches 161 degrees. The following chart is a guide for total cooking time based on your size bird. A 10 to 12 lb turkey will require 2½ to 3 hrs. A 12 to 14 lb turkey will require 2¾ to 3¼ hrs. A 14 to 16 lb turkey will require 3 to 3¾ hrs. A 16 to 18 lb turkey will require 3¼ to 4 hrs. A 18 to 20 lb turkey will require 3½ to 4¼ hrs. And a 20 + lb turkey will require 3¾ to 4½ hrs. Once you pull your turkey from the oven, cover it loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest 20 to 30 minutes before carving. During this resting time your turkey will continue cooking and reach its serving temp. of 175 degrees in the leg, & 165 degrees in the breast and stuffing.
- The above cooking times are based on 13 to 15 minutes per pound cooking time. An additional 30 to 60 minutes must be added if the bird is stuffed. One final tip, if the breast is cooking at a faster rate than the thighs, or if it has reached its peak browning, simply cover the breast with an aluminum foil tent to slow down the cooking process.
- Turkey carving basics: 1. Remove the thigh and drumstick. Cut through the skin where the leg and breast meets. While pulling the leg away from the body with your fork, cut down close to the body and right through the joint that connects the thigh to the body. Repeat on other leg. 2. Seperate the thigh from the drumstick by placing the leg skin side down and locating the line at the joint where the thigh and drumstick meet. Cut along this line and through the connecting joint. You may need to adjust the angle of your knife if you hit resistance while cutting through the joint. 3. Remove the wings in the same fashion as used to remove the legs. Pull the wing back and cut down through the joint connecting the wing to the body. 4. Remove the wishbone/collarbone. 5. To remove the breast meat, run you knife through the skin along the side of the breastbone and then down along the ribs. Pull the meat away from the ribs while slicing the meat from the ribs.
- Now that you have carved your turkey, slice the meat for plating, serve and enjoy! Happy Holidays!!