a large Turkey!
a whole turkey is easy, the real trick is to cook the bird
to the right temperature. It's not as important how long
or at what temperature you choose to cook your bird at. I
strongly recommend a instant read
(we have a video on that
in the Favorite Tools section) to be able to test the bird
in many areas.
FRESH vs FROZEN
Both can give you great results, I prefer fresh but sometime I've had to use
frozen. The bird in this video is frozen so that you can see it can
still be very moist. Note; a frozen turkey is more difficult than a
fresh bird to get right because being frozen means you lose some of
the water in the thawing process. However, if you following these instructions
you will still get a great bird!
I cook turkey
and for me it's all about the bird so I don't stuff my birds.
Stuffing is a left-over tradition stemming from the fact that
was very limited.
Yeah, it looks good on Sunset Magazine, but if
a bird, you rob both the bird and the potential gravy of some
of the best juices. More importantly, the stuffing itself also
changes the heat to surface ratio giving a cook numerous cooking
and to get the inner breast and thigh properly done, stuffing
the bird usually ends up drying out the outer breast and leg.
(Especially a bird that has not been allowed to come up to
room temperature. See below.)
don't you tie
up the legs?
tradition that should be done away with. Because of the differing
characteristics of the breast meat and the leg meat, the legs
need to cook more than the breast. A perfectly done bird would
have the breast at about 160° to 165° to be moist and tender,
but the legs
and thighs need to be closer to about 180° to be tender and
done. Tying up the legs makes them fit tighter to the body,
takes that much longer for the heat to get to and cook. Hence,
of the bird, and especially the breast overcooks and dries
this video I recommend leaving the turkey out overnight
to come up to "room
temperature" and then cooking it the next day. This gives the best results
but please know that in doing so you are creating an environment that can harbor
Health Departments would classify as a possible cause for "food borne
you choose to follow my lead, extreme caution must be taken to insure you don't
contaminate any other foods or surfaces that may come into contact with the
turkey and or it's juices before it is fully cooked to a safe temperature,
of 160° (and USDA says 165°!)
safely do this, do all the prep work the night before,
so that all you have to do is remove and throw away the
or plastic wrap you used to cover the bird overnight. Heat
the oven and place it directly in the oven. Don't touch
it or let it or any of it's juices touch or come in contact
with anything else.
you're not sure what you are doing, and you aren't 100%
skip the overnight part and prep the turkey as shown right before it goes
oven. Your times will vary from the video but the temperature is the important
issue. Your turkey is done when the "coldest" reading on an accurate
pocket thermometer is 160° to 165°.
see our other seasonal videos for gravy & side