How to Cook a Turkey

Have you tried cooking a turkey or are you worried you won't get it right? Well don't, since here are the steps that tell you how to cook a turkey.
| Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Day is also known as turkey day because the turkey forms such an important part of this holiday. It is of great importance to celebrate this holiday with turkey. You can have barbecued, roasted, stuffed or unstuffed turkey for thanksgiving. Here is what you have to know before you put the turkey into the oven as well as instructions on how to cook it.

Methods to Thaw the Turkey

To begin making the party turkey thaw the turkey first. To do so leave it in its original plastic and follow one of the methods listed below:

  • Using Cold Water - Take a large container and put the turkey in it. Once that is done pour enough water in it to cover the turkey completely. Remember to change the water every hour counting 1 hour defrosting time per pound.
  • In the Refrigerator - Put the turkey on a tray and place it in the refrigerator. This method is time consuming as it takes about 5 hours per pound defrosting time.
  • Using Frozen Pre-Stuffed Turkey - When using stuffed turkey remember to cook it without thawing. If you are in doubt as to what to do follow the instructions on the label.

Cleaning the Turkey

The process of cleaning the Turkey involves the steps below:

  • First remove the plastic wrap from the thawed turkey. Once that is over, take out the giblets and neck from the body cavity.
  • Second take some cold water and rinse the turkey outside as well as inside. When you have completed that task, use paper towels to pat the turkey dry.
  • While following the above steps ensure that your hands are washed thoroughly before and after washing the turkey. Do remember to use soapy water to wash surfaces, dishes and utensils.
  • Another thing worth mentioning is to keep the raw turkey away from food that is ready to eat.

Things your will require to cook the turkey are:

  • About 12 to 14 lb. of turkey
  • Some olive oil for brushing
  • Some salt and pepper
  • Stuffing

Cooking Procedure

  • To begin the process of cooking the turkey preheat the oven to a temperature of 325 degrees.
  • If you have opted to stuff the turkey remember to do so just before to cook the turkey. It is not advisable to stuff it the day or night before.
  • Put the turkey breast up on a shallow pan and place it on the rack.
  • To check the temperature take an oven safe meat thermometer and place it into the turkey's thickest part of the inner thigh. Do not touch the thigh bone.
  • While roasting the turkey either leave it uncovered or cover it loosely with foil. Ensure that you roast it for about 20 minutes per pound. You can find out the time by using a thermometer which should read 170 degrees for an unstuffed turkey and 180 degrees for a stuffed one.
  • Once the turkey is done let it stand for about 15 to 20 minutes before you carve it.

Turkey Cooking Tips:

  • Use pepper, poultry seasoning, salt and two onions (quartered) if you are roasting an unstuffed turkey.
  • While buying the turkey, get a pound per person since this will allow for some leftover turkey.
  • Cook thoroughly at one go. Avoid cooking the turkey partially and waiting to cook it later.
  • To prevent the turkey from sticking to the pan, place a few slices of lightly buttered bread under the turkey.
  • Do not open the oven door frequently if you want the turkey to cook fast.
  • The ideal turkey cooking temperature is 325 degrees. A temperature higher than this may cause shrinkage and also toughen the protein.
  • If you would like to add more flavor to the turkey, take some pieces of bacon and put it across the breast and around the drumsticks. To secure it, use toothpicks.
   
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