It's Turkey Time! - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Nancy's Corner

It's Turkey Time!

Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away.  Now is the time to be preparing your meal plan.  Follow these tips for buying, thawing and cooking your bird for a safe, delicious turkey.    

Buying A Turkey  

Frozen: Allow 1 lb. per person. Buy any time, but keep frozen until ready to thaw.

Frozen Pre-Stuffed: Allow 1 ¼ lbs. per person. Buy any time. Keep frozen until ready to cook. DO NOT THAW.

Fresh: 1 lb. per person. Buy 1 - 2 days before cooking. DO NOT BUY PRE-STUFFED.  

Thawing A Turkey  

Thawing Time in the Refrigerator (40 degrees F) Approximately 24 hours per 5 pounds (Whole Turkey)  

  • 8 to 12 pounds = 1 to 2 days
  • 12 to 16 pounds = 2 to 3 days
  • 16 to 20 pounds = 3 to 4 days
  • 20 to 24 pounds = 4 to 5 days          

Thawing Time in Cold Water Approximately 30 minutes per pound (Whole Turkey)  

  • 8 to 12 pounds = 4 to 6 hours
  • 12 to 16 pounds = 6 to 8 hours
  • 16 to 20 pounds = 8 to 10 hours
  • 20 to 24 pounds = 10 to 12 hours (Change water every 30 minutes)  

After thawing, remove neck and giblets from both neck and body cavities, wash turkey inside and out with cold water, and drain well.  Thawed turkey may remain in refrigerator 1 - 2 days. 

Thawing in the Microwave   Check manufacturer's instructions for the size turkey that will fit into your oven, the minutes per pound, and the power level to use for thawing.  Cook immediately after thawing.      

Roasting A Turkey  

Timetable for fresh or thawed turkey at 325 degrees F.  These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer.    

Unstuffed

  • 8 to 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   

Stuffed

  • 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 1/2 hours
  • 18 to 20 pounds = 4 1/2 to 4 3/4 hours
  • 20 to 24 pounds = 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours  

Roasting Instructions   

1. Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees.

2. Place turkey breast-side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

3. For uniform results, it is recommended to cook stuffing outside the bird. If stuffed, stuff loosely.

4. For safety and doneness, the internal temperature, as registered on a meat thermometer, must reach a minimum of 180 degrees F in the thigh before removing from the oven. The center of the stuffing should reach 165 degrees F after stand time.

5. Juices should be clear.

6. Let the breast stand 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.

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