Cooking a Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey is a bit more complicated than throwing it in the oven and turning the dial. Different sizes require different cooking times and if you don’t hit that proper internal temperature, it’s lights out for your digestive system. One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment is here to help you with some simple turkey tips…
No matter how you cook your turkey, the bird must be cooked to the proper internal temperature. Remember that a stuffed turkey will take longer to cook. Don’t try to wing it! Utilize the all-knowing food thermometer to ensure your turkey is ready to be consumed by ravenous relatives.
If you are stuffing your turkey, make sure it’s done right before it’s put in the oven. Prepare the wet and dry stuffing ingredients separately and combine them immediately before they’re stuffed in the bird. The proper stuffing amount varies by taste, but 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey is ideal. You can also cook stuffing around the turkey, in the same pan. For the ultimate in stuffing safety, cook the stuff in its own greased casserole dish at a minimum temperature of 165F.
To accurately take the turkey’s temperature, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the bird. Make sure you’re not touching any bone. The absolute minimum internal temperature of the turkey should be 165F. You can also take the temperature of the thigh and wing – these should be about 180F.
Here’s an easy to follow rundown of cooking times for a thermal/conventional oven set at 325F:
8-12 pounds: 2-3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3-3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds: 3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds: 4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 4-1/2 to 5 hours
8 to 12 pounds: 3 to 3-1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds: 3-1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds: 4 to 4-1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds: 4-1/4 to 4-3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 4-3/4 to 5-1/4 hours
After cooking, let the turkey sit for about 20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to set, which will make carving simpler. Put the bird on a cutting board, preferably one with a well to catch the juices. You can leave it in the open baking pan and carve it as it stands. That’s what my old man always did. Remove the stuffing before carving, slice it up, and let the feasting begin!
Don’t let any turkey or stuffing stay on the counter for more than two hours. If you’ve got leftovers, it’s safe to store your cooked turkey, stuffing, and gravy for three to four days in a fridge. If you throw cooked turkey in the freezer, it’ll keep for three to four months.
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