need best way to cook a turkey
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need best way to cook a turkey
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im going to cook my first turkey this thanksgiving any good pointers, or thing i should be ready for?--thanks
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Forums » Baking Forums » Holidays and Entertaining » need best way to cook a turkey

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Forums  »  Baking Forums  »  Holidays and Entertaining  »  need best way to cook a turkey

need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/6/2011 3:56 PM EST
Posts: 1
First: 11/6/2011
Last: 11/6/2011
im going to cook my first turkey this thanksgiving any good pointers, or thing i should be ready for?--thanks

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/6/2011 5:03 PM EST
Posts: 7295
First: 6/23/2010
Last: 4/18/2014
Hi Kenny - welcome to VBB. 
The turkeys I buy have directions on the plastic wrap.
I wash the thing first, inside and out with just cool running water and make certain to remove any plastic wrapped package stuck inside.  That's the neck and giblets (heart, liver and gizzard) you can boil and use for gravy broth, serve for somebody to eat, cook it and chop it to use in stuffing, other uses too.  I don't like that stuff so I just toss it.
I never turn my over higher than 325* for a carefully thawed turkey and cook for ??? minutes per pound.  I've forgotten the number!!  Someone will be along to tell you that.

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/6/2011 6:15 PM EST
Posts: 499
First: 8/12/2008
Last: 3/7/2012
Those pop=up thermometers in most birds will tell you when it is done.
The wrapper on the bird will give you an aproximate time,
Be sure it is fully thawed when it goes in the oven or all bets are off.
Butterball has a hot line telephone number with advice and answers to all questions staffed by real people.

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/6/2011 6:36 PM EST
Posts: 1417
First: 10/26/2009
Last: 3/15/2014
Welcome aboard, Kenny! I have tried various methods of turkey cooking over the years, including on the barbecue, in the microwave, and in the oven in a brown paper bag. My favorite is the dry-brining I have been doing the past 2 years. Three days before roasting, take 1 tbsp. of kosher salt for each 5 pounds of turkey. Rub the salt on the outside of the thawed or fresh turkey, and some on the inside. Put the turkey in a large turkey size oven bag, and put back in the refrigerator. Massage the turkey once a day. On the day of roasting, bring the turkey to room temperature 1 hour before cooking. I start mine at 425 for 30 minutes, and then 325 for the remaining time. It usually takes a 20 lb. turkey 3-1/2 - 4 hours to cook. I use a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh, just to make sure.

This is not a stuffed turkey. I bake my dressing separately in a casserole dish.

Turkeys are very easy to roast, so don't be intimidated! Just make sure it's thawed before cooking. lol

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/6/2011 7:36 PM EST
Posts: 3718
First: 9/13/2011
Last: 4/17/2014
 

GRANA here;

Hi KENNY A ; some tips for coking your first turkey:  Buy the right size for your# of guests and their appetites.  A 12-15 # turkey serves 8 generously w/plenty of leftovers.
THAWTURKEYCOMPLETELY BEFORE STARTING!: Do thisin refrigerator ormicrowveoven to keeppetsfrom helpingthemselves& for asafer tawing process.
Prepare stuffing (   if desired)& allow to cool to room temperature
 Remove all outer wrappings & dispose of immediately (food safety)>Remove all goody pkg from inside the bird( giblets neck, & liver..If not planning on using(  for gravy & ? Dispose of immediately. If planning to use, place on a dish, cover & refrigerate promptly. (Prevent mess& food safety
/>Rinse turkey inside& out w/ cool water; drain well pat dry w/paper towels />Place turkey in a heavy duty foli lined roasting pan OR  use a ( diposable) foil pan (on a cookie sheet ( for support & sFill cavity w/ cooled prepared stuffing OR
Optional; lightly salt nside if not using stuffing.Rub skin w/oil butter or margarine orsprayw/ buttery nonstick spray for a more golden skin

OPTIONAL:Use a roasting rack to keep turkey out of grease, while ( for a more golden appearance, or lightly spry w/ buttery non stick cooking spray ; lightly salt if desiredLoosely” tent” w/foil( for a moister bird & cleaner oven  
  generously w/plenty of leftovers  temperature  Remove all outer wrappings & dispose of immediately (food safety)Remove all goody pkg from inside the bird( giblets neck, & liver..If not planning on using(  for gravy & ? Dispose of immediately. If planning to use, later,  place on a dish, cover & refrigerate promptly. (Prevent mess& food safety)Rinse turkey inside& out w/ cool water; drain well pat dry w/paper towelsPlace turkey in foi linesd roasting pan or usea ( diposable) foil pan (on a cookie sheet ( forr support & safety)OPT:Use a roasting rack to keep turkey out of grease, while cookingFill cavity w/ cooled prepared stuffing or Optional; lightly salt nside if not using stuffing.Rub skin w/oilbutterormargarine( foramoregolden appearance, orlightly spry w/ butterynon stick cookingspray ; lightly salt if desiredLoosely” tent” w/foil( for a moister bird & cleaner oven

& to REVENT OVER-BROWNING.*** Remove foil tent in last15 minutes of roasting to allow skin to  become a rich golden brown

 TIMETABLE/GUIDELINES. All sizes bake  @325’
 5-8 #bird 3-1/2 to4 hours; 20-25min#
8-12#bird 4 to4-1/2 hours18-20 min.#
12-16# bird4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours hours 15-18 min#
16-20# bird5-1/2 to 7 13 to 15 min #
TEST FOR DONENESS: [ omitifturkey has a built in  pop ut merSqueeze the thickest part of the drumstick w/ a paper towel, afte rfirst releasing Drumsticks from  lacing or turkey skin.It should feel sof t move back frth easily ly  when perfectly cooked

Let rest/sit on table or counter top for15 minutes for a more easily carved, juicier turkey.
GOOD LUCK; you'll do just fine!
Smile

 
    
  



TIMETABLE/GUIDELINE:
Oven @325’ ( all bird sizes) 
5-8# turkey-1/2-4 HOURS 18-20 min. per #
8-12# turkey4-4-1/2 hours 20-25 minutes per pound/#
12-16# turkey 4-1/2 to5-1/2 hours 15-18 minutes#
 
16-20# 5-1/2 -7hours 13-15 min. per pound
T EST FOR DONENESS: ( release  drumsticks first if tied or otherwise held in place). Squeeze the thickest part of  ofdrumstick w/ a paper towel   covered hand. It should feel soft & move back& forth easily when perfectly doneAllow turkey to stand/”rest’15 minutes on table or counter top, before carving [for a moister, more easily carved turkey.   

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/6/2011 9:39 PM EST
Posts: 1400
First: 8/9/2008
Last: 6/2/2013
Everything I was going to say has already been said.  Good luck with your first turkey.  I know you will do well.

Let us know how the turkey comes out.

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 2:06 AM EST
Posts: 4948
First: 6/4/2010
Last: 4/30/2013
Welcome Kenny,All of these ladies have given you good advice.If you want to see how a turkey is prepared you can go to YouTube Broadcast Yourself and there are numerous tutorials on how to make a turkey. Check it out.I'm an experienced cook and I go there a lot if I want to learn something new.My latest venture is homemade sauerkraut,very easy and so much better than store bought.Good Luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 5:21 AM EST
Posts: 1101
First: 8/8/2008
Last: 11/28/2013
I brine my turkey before cooking it in the oven according to the directions on the wrapper. Brining makes the turkey juicy and you don't have to use a lot of butter or margerine for basting. Good luck!

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 6:23 AM EST
Posts: 2515
First: 6/4/2010
Last: 4/17/2014
when we make are turkey dinner it is done in the oven and basted.

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 8:00 AM EST
Posts: 1856
First: 10/8/2010
Last: 2/12/2014
i always cook my turkey in one of those Reynold's turkey bags.  It contains all the mess, makes a juicy turkey and you can see the pop up thingy through the bag.  The bags come with directions.

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 1:15 PM EST
Posts: 4948
First: 6/4/2010
Last: 4/30/2013
In Response to Re: need best way to cook a turkey:
Welcome aboard, Kenny! I have tried various methods of turkey cooking over the years, including on the barbecue, in the microwave, and in the oven in a brown paper bag. My favorite is the dry-brining I have been doing the past 2 years. Three days before roasting, take 1 tbsp. of kosher salt for each 5 pounds of turkey. Rub the salt on the outside of the thawed or fresh turkey, and some on the inside. Put the turkey in a large turkey size oven bag, and put back in the refrigerator. Massage the turkey once a day. On the day of roasting, bring the turkey to room temperature 1 hour before cooking. I start mine at 425 for 30 minutes, and then 325 for the remaining time. It usually takes a 20 lb. turkey 3-1/2 - 4 hours to cook. I use a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh, just to make sure. This is not a stuffed turkey. I bake my dressing separately in a casserole dish. Turkeys are very easy to roast, so don't be intimidated! Just make sure it's thawed before cooking. lol
Posted by Verlee T


Hi Verlee,Have you ever done a turkey in a liquid brine? I have done this and it is very good.If you have which method do you prefer wet or dry? I brine my chicken and pork if I have the time and remember to do it,all with excellent results.

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 2:10 PM EST
Posts: 7295
First: 6/23/2010
Last: 4/18/2014
I've never even heard of brine - wet or dry - until I joined this board.   I brush mine with melted butter, sprinkle on some salt, put a small square of foil over the breast - very loose.   Every hour or so I baste with more butter.    And, of course, a bit of the breast is too dry.

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 2:34 PM EST
Posts: 1417
First: 10/26/2009
Last: 3/15/2014
In Response to Re: need best way to cook a turkey:
In Response to Re: need best way to cook a turkey : Hi Verlee,Have you ever done a turkey in a liquid brine? I have done this and it is very good.If you have which method do you prefer wet or dry? I brine my chicken and pork if I have the time and remember to do it,all with excellent results.
Posted by gale g


Hi Gale - I have only done the dry brine. For some reason I resist the wet because of the sugar?!? Let me know which recipe you use for the wet brine and I'll give it a try.

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 2:36 PM EST
Posts: 1417
First: 10/26/2009
Last: 3/15/2014
In Response to Re: need best way to cook a turkey:
I've never even heard of brine - wet or dry - until I joined this board.   I brush mine with melted butter, sprinkle on some salt, put a small square of foil over the breast - very loose.   Every hour or so I baste with more butter.    And, of course, a bit of the breast is too dry.
Posted by Nancy G


Nancy, it's good to see you learned something new today!!!

I'm still not able to send my PM to you. If you have time, send me one and see if it's working on your end.

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 2:42 PM EST
Posts: 652
First: 10/4/2008
Last: 4/16/2014
The very best way is to run to the store and buy a Reynold's cooking bag.....be sure to get the size you need for the poundage of your turkey....there are two sizes.  The directions are in the box, and believe me, you won't go wrong.  Your first turkey will be done to perfection and will be moist and juicy.  (This is how I have been cooking my Thanksgiving turkey ever since Reynold's invented this perfect bag!!)  It makes all other ways absolutely obsolete!!

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 4:01 PM EST
Posts: 4948
First: 6/4/2010
Last: 4/30/2013
In Response to Re: need best way to cook a turkey:
In Response to Re: need best way to cook a turkey : Hi Gale - I have only done the dry brine. For some reason I resist the wet because of the sugar?!? Let me know which recipe you use for the wet brine and I'll give it a try.
Posted by Verlee T


My standard brine is one gallon cold water,1/2 cup kosher salt,1/4 cup light brown sugar if you need more just follow these ingredients and adjust amounts as needed.Other spices can be added to your taste.I've added apples,onion,garlic,you can add whatever you like .Brine the meat for 12 hours or overnight.Before cooking take meat out of the brine rinse well under cold water inside and out.Pat dry,no need for added salt,season and roast as you usually do.I'll have to try the dry brine the way you make yours this is the first I've heard of dry brine.I'm sure the results will be similar.We are just infusing flavor and moisture into the meat.I have a turkey fryer but have not fried a turkey yet.We use it for frying 5# of chicken wings at a time.lol These guys eat a lot!

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 6:03 PM EST
Posts: 7295
First: 6/23/2010
Last: 4/18/2014
Hey Verlee --- I just sent you an email.  Let's see if you get it.

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 7:28 PM EST
Posts: 1457
First: 10/19/2009
Last: 2/11/2012
Welcome Kenny!

You were given a lot of good information.  I wish you the best and good luck!

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 7:47 PM EST
Posts: 4948
First: 6/4/2010
Last: 4/30/2013
In Response to Re: need best way to cook a turkey:
Welcome Kenny! You were given a lot of good information.  I wish you the best and good luck!
Posted by Susan K


Hi Susan nice to see you!

Re: need best way to cook a turkey

posted at 11/7/2011 7:57 PM EST
Posts: 4948
First: 6/4/2010
Last: 4/30/2013
Sorry, just an added note,do not brine a Kosher turkey or a self basting as they have already been processed with salt.
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