ROASTING THE WHOLE TURKEY
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. Roast at 325 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.
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.
Covered roaster method – Prepare turkey as for other methods. Place turkey in deep roaster as broth will accumulate even though no water is added. Put lid on, but leave a vent so bird will brown. Roast at 325 degrees F. Roasting time will be an hour or so shorter than by the open roasting pan method.
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.
TURKEY BREAST AND BONELESS TURKEY ROAST
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.
For a flavorful and juicy alternative way of preparing your turkey or turkey breast, prepare a brine using:
- 1-cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 -cup kosher salt
- 1-gallon water
- 1-tspn. Rosemary
- 1-tspn. Thyme
- 1-sliced orange
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.
ROASTING TIME CHART
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.