How To Cook a Turkey

Turkeys are cooked easily and faster than before. The basic cooking techniques must be followed. A sufficient internal temperature should be maintained to destroy bacteria and prevent food borne illness as well as to prevent overcooking. Turkey is highly perishable when it is fresh. Turkeys should be bought one or two days before cooking. You should not buy pre-stuffed fresh turkeys because you may not sure whether sanitary methods were followed when the bird was stuffed.

  • Look for one with no damage to the package and no pockets of frost under the wrap. If there is lack of time, the cold water method is preferred over the temptation of thawing the turkey at room temperature. Rapid growth of bacteria is promoted when the turkey is washed in room temperature or warm water.

  • To thaw in the refrigerator, place the bird on a tray and allow 24 hours thawing time for every 5 pounds. You can also thaw in cold water allowing 30 minutes thawing time per pound. It is must that, for every 30 minutes the water should be changed. Wash the turkey thoroughly in running water. Giblets from the bird is removed and start to boil them in a pan of water at low heat. This is necessary for stuffing. Cutting boards and utensils must be thoroughly washed after preparing the turkey for the oven.
  • Place the bird in a roasting pan big enough to hold the bird. Make sure no portion is hanging out of the roasting pan. Keep a cooking rack in the oven. Once the turkey is in the oven, clean all surfaces that the turkey or turkey juice touched-sink, counter, hands and more. You can even use a mild bleach solution to disinfect. Turn the oven on and set it to pre-heat at 450 degrees.
  • Since turkey is low in fat and high in protein, the meat is sensitive to extreme heat and for long cooking. Loosely place an aluminum foil tent placed over the turkey breast during the first 60 to 90 minutes of roasting and then remove that aluminum foil tent to allow the turkey to brown. A turkey should be cooked just until it is done. Food thermometer is used to determine the level of cooking.
  • Use these tests to determine cooked turkey and to keep the turkey juicy. For whole turkey, the food thermometer is placed in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone. The internal temperature of the turkey should measure 180 degrees F in the thigh and 170 degrees F in the breast. Juices should run clear and the drumsticks should be soft and move easily at the joint.

Filed Under: Food & Cooking


About the Author: Leona Kesler is a head-chef at a very popular food restaurant in New York. Also she is a blogger who shares her experiences, tips, and other informative details about food and cooking. Her recipes are featured on many magazines.

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