Tag Archives: Thanksgiving dinner

Roasting a Turkey is easy


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I don’t understand why people freak at the idea of making a Turkey.  To my mind it’s one of the easiest things to make.

This time of year you see all kinds of exotic recipes for Thanksgiving Turkey.  Brined, Maple-rubbed, Deep-fried.  Exotically spiced.  But honestly…a good old-fashioned roast turkey is simple and delicious.

Let’s start with some basics.  One of the biggest problems I see new cooks making is forgetting to defrost their turkey.   Of course safest of all is to buy a fresh turkey.  But if you are starting from frozen, there are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave oven.   Allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator.  The USDA has complete instructions http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/turkey_basics_safe_thawing/index.asp.

Also, don’t forget to remove the giblets generally packaged inside the turkey, whether fresh or frozen.  Set aside for use in your stuffing or gravy, or toss.  But don’t leave them in the bird!!

Here’s my foolproof method.  (Note, I don’t stuff my bird, but instead make dressing as a side dish.)

Tools Needed: Roasting pan with rack, cheesecloth, meat thermometer, turkey baster

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

1 Turkey, rinsed inside and out, and patted dry

1 stick (8 TBS) butter

2 cups water

Garlic powder to taste

Place turkey, breast side up, on the rack in the roasting pan.  Sprinkle with garlic powder.

Melt butter in the two cups of water.  (I do this in the microwave, but stovetop is fine.)

Unwrap cheesecloth and soak in the buttery water.  Carefully cover turkey, making sure that the drumsticks are covered as well as the breast.   Pour any remaining liquid over the cheesecloth.

Place turkey in oven and immediately turn down to 325 – 350 degrees F.  Baste every 20 minutes until done.

  • For a 10-13 lb. turkey (weight with giblets): Bake in a 350° oven for 1 1/2-2 1/4 hr.
  • For a 14-23 lb. turkey (weight with giblets): Bake in a 325° oven for 2-3 hr.
  • For a 24-27 lb. turkey (weight with giblets): Bake in a 325° oven for 3-3 3/4 hr.
  • For a 28-30 lb turkey (weight with giblets): Bake in a 325° oven for 3 1/2-4 1/2 hr.

A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.

If your turkey has a “pop-up” temperature indicator, it is recommended that you also check the internal temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer. The minimum internal temperature should reach 165 °F for safety.