Buy the right size turkey – Whole Turkey- 1 pound to 1.5 pounds per person / Bone-In Turkey Breast- .75 pounds to 1 pound per person / Boneless Turkey Roast- .5 pounds to .75 pounds per person / Whole Smoked Turkey- .75 pounds to 1 pound per person / Smoked Bone-In Turkey Breast- .5 pounds to .75 pounds per person
Thawing turkey – The quickest safe way to thaw a turkey is in cold water. Change the water every hour. This method takes approximately 30 minutes per pound. Another way to thaw it is in the refrigerator. Place your turkey on a tray and allow 1 to 3 days to thaw, depending on size. A third way is by placing it in a large paper bag which will provide some insulation. Allow 1 hour per pound for thawing.
Storing turkey – Turkey can be held 3 to 4 days in the coldest part of the refrigerator. To hold an extra day or two, place in freezer for several hours to chill and then place in the refrigerator.
To prepare – Discard plastic bag. Remove neck and giblets from body cavities, rinse turkey and wipe dry. Cook neck and giblets for broth, to add to dressing and for giblet gravy.
To roast – Place turkey with the breast up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan with approximately 1/2″ water on the bottom. Brush with melted butter, if desired. Rub body cavity lightly with salt if roasting unstuffed. It is recommended that a meat thermometer be used. Place thermometer in the thickest part of the breast or thigh; the bulb should not touch any bone. Cook at 450 degrees F uncovered for 45 minutes. Cover and reduce the temperature to 325° F until meat thermometer registers 170 degrees F, using the chart below as a guide for length of roasting time. A “tent” of foil placed loosely over turkey may be used and will eliminate need for basting, although turkey may be basted if desired. Remove foil last half-hour for browning. If V-rack is used, place turkey breast down. Fat from back tends to permeate the breast meat to keep it from drying.
NOTE: Our free-range turkeys do cook faster, especially when using a roaster, do check for doneness with a meat thermometer beginning one hour before the anticipated finish time.
Turkey is done when:
(a) roast-meat thermometer registers 170° to 175° F in the breast meat or 180° F in the thigh meat
(b) juices are clear when probed with a knife or fork.
To stuff a turkey safely – Stuffing should be prepared and stuffed into the turkey immediately before it is placed in the oven for roasting. If preparing the stuffing ahead of time, wet and dry ingredients should be refrigerated separately and combined right before stuffing the turkey. Stuff the turkey loosely, about 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey. Once the thermometer shows the correct reading for the turkey, move the thermometer to the center of the stuffing. The stuffing should reach 160° to 165° F before the turkey is removed from the oven.
To roast – Remove from bag; do not remove the netting from the roast. Place on rack in a shallow baking pan. Brush with melted butter or margarine (optional). Rub lightly with salt. Roast at 325° F until thermometer registers 170° to 175° F. If the breast or roast becomes too brown during roasting, cover loosely with foil. Allow to stand 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. Using cooking bags or the covered roaster method is also acceptable.
Take your whole smoked turkey or smoked turkey breast out of the bag. Heat in a covered pan with 1/8″ to 1/4″ water or broth at 275 degrees F. for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. It is fully cooked so it can be served cool, warm or hot.
Your spiral glazed smoked turkey breast can be heated in a covered pan (with bag and foil removed) with a little water or broth. Another option is to take breast out of the bag leaving on the foil. Then, tent the foil making sure the entire breast is covered and place on a baking sheet and heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 275 degrees F.
After you have enjoyed these gourmet delights, we suggest you use the remaining bones and tidbits to create a delicious, full-bodied soup stock!
For a flavorful and juicy alternative way of preparing your turkey or turkey breast, prepare a brine using:
Put in a container (cooler, plastic bucket, cooking pot etc.) for (1 hr. per pound), keeping it cold. Take turkey out of container, rinse and place in cooking container and cook as usual.
Whole Turkey (unstuffed) –
Weight Roaster/Cooking Bag Foil Covered
12-16 lbs. 2-3 hours 3-4 hours
17-22 lbs. 3-4 hours 4-5 hours
23-27 lbs. 4-5 hours 5-6 hours
Breast & Roast (unstuffed) –
5-7 lbs. 2-3 hours 3-4 hours
8-10 lbs. 3-4 hours 4-5 hours
11-12 lbs. 4-5 hours 5-6 hours
One of the nicest things about roasting a turkey is that the leftovers are just as tasty as the first slices…cooked and ready to go into the most succulent main dishes. Turkey can be used in place of chicken in almost any recipe. However, it is important that the cooked turkey is cared for properly. Remove the stuffing and carve the extra turkey meat from the bones. Leftover turkey should be stored in shallow containers and refrigerated or frozen within two hours of cooking. Use cooked turkey and stuffing within 3 or 4 days and gravy in 1 to 2 days. Cooked turkey keeps for 3 to 4 months in the freezer. When using leftovers, reheat thoroughly to 165° F, or until hot and steaming. Marinades, such as vinegar and oil bases, Worcestershire sauce, or citrus bases add flavor and moisture to a very low fat turkey product. To avoid overcooking, we urge our customers to use care when cooking boneless, skinless thigh or breast meat, such as fillets, cubed steaks, and ground turkey breast. Our recommendation is to cook turkey to a tan rather than brown color, so the meat will stay moist and tender.