Stuff you’ll need:
- Roasting pan large enough to hold the bird with at least 1”-2” inches on all sides, between the bird and the pan.
- Butcher twine, to tie the legs together if needed.
- Aluminum foil, to make the foil rings if needed, and for covering the breast later in cooking.
- Stuffing, or oranges and onions to stuff in the cavity.
- Salt and pepper.
- Cooking oil or butter.
- Meat thermometer for the turkey. This is crucial to determining doneness. The best are instant read models, most of which are digital.
Thawing a Turkey:
There are two preferred methods:In the refrigerator:
- 10-18 lbs. 3-4 days
- 18-22 lbs. 4-5 days
- 22-24 lbs. 5-6 days
- 24-30 lbs. 6-7 days
In cold water (change the water every 30 minutes):
- 10-18 lbs. 5-9 hrs.
- 18-22 lbs. 9-11 hrs.
- 22-24 lbs. 11-12 hrs.
- 24-30 lbs. 12-15 hrs.
- Preparing the Turkey for roasting. Make certain that the turkey is completely thawed out. And that means no frozen spots here or there, it can throw off the entire cooking process. Follow the thawing table above and you’ll have no problem.
- Remove the neck and giblets, if included, and either use for gravy, cook for guests that like them, or discard.
- Rinse the turkey well and dry it off with disposable paper towels.
- Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. That is the best temperature to cook your bird.
- Rub the exterior surface of the bird with cooking oil. Then season with salt (kosher if you have it, otherwise standard salt) and black pepper. Remember to season the entire bird, the underside, legs, thighs, even the inside cavity.
- If you are stuffing your bird, do so now. If you are not stuffing your turkey, slice up 2 oranges into quarters, and two large onions. Stuff them into the cavity until full. The onions and oranges help keep the bird moist during cooking.
- If they are not already tied or clamped together, tie the legs together now with butcher twine. This helps hold the stuffing or onions and oranges in, and props up the breast so that it cooks evenly. Next, fold the wing tips under the bird, and it will serve as a solid base for the bird. They’re flexible, just turn them under.
- Place your turkey in a shallow roasting pan (2”-3” deep). Place it on a flat rack if you have one. If not, place it on a bed of chopped vegetables (carrots, onions, and celery). The third option is to make a ring out of aluminum foil. To do so, take a long piece of foil (2-3 ft.) and roll it into a log. Then, bend it into a circle. Do two of these, and set your turkey on top of the foil rings.
There are several ways to make a turkey. You can roast it in a pan, roast it in a pan covered, cook it in a bag, deep fry it, spatchcock it, pressure cooker, you name it.
I like the open pan roasting method. It’s never failed me, and results in a juicy, golden brown turkey when it comes out of the oven.Refer to the chart below for the roasting times.
- 10-18 lbs. 3 to 3 ½ hours
- 18-22 lbs. 3 ½ – 4 hours
- 22-24 lbs. 4 – 4 ½ hours
- 24-30 lbs. 4 ½ to 5 hours
These times are for a turkey that has not been stuffed with stuffing/dressing. If you stuff your turkey, add 45 minutes to an hour to the times.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Follow the steps outlined above for preparing the turkey.
- Place the turkey, in the roasting pan, in the oven when it reaches 325 degrees.
- Roast until about 2/3 of the way through. So, if you have a 10 lb. turkey, 2/3 of the way through would be after approximately 2 hours.
- Tent the top of the turkey with foil to prevent over cooking.
- About 30 minutes before the earliest finish time remove the turkey from the oven and check the temperature in the breast and the thighs with an instant read thermometer. Remember, the turkey is done when the breast reaches 165 degrees, and the thighs are at 175-180 degrees.
- Remove the turkey from the oven, place on a cookie sheet or another dish with high enough sides to catch the juices. Tent loosely with foil.
- Let the turkey rest about 20 minutes before carving.
Did the turkey get done way too early? Or are you transporting your turkey to a party? Have no fear, you can safely follow the instructions below, and the turkey will be safe to eat for 3 hours.
- Wrap the turkey in aluminum foil tightly.
- Then wrap the turkey in an old, clean towel.
- Place in a cooler (NO ICE) with a lid, and close. If you don’t have a cooler use a cardboard box.
Here is a foolproof recipe for great turkey gravy.
- Turkey drippings from the roasting pan
- 2 T butter, softened
- 2 T flour
- 1 C or more of chicken stock
- Pour the turkey drippings out of the pan and into a 2 cup liquid measure or glass.
- Let the grease rise to the top, about 2 minutes.
- Carefully spoon the grease out.
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter.
- When melted, add the flour and whisk together to make a paste.
- Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and pan drippings.
- Bring to a simmer, and thicken slightly.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
ENJOY!Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Jake’s Country Meats!