Turkey Time & Temperature Requirements
Since so many folks are intimidated by the prospect of cooking a turkey, we went to the experts for the lowdown.
Sherrie Rosenblatt of the National Turkey Federation says the Open Pan dry heat method of roasting a turkey is the easiest and most reliable way to insure turkey success. This method results in a juicy, tender, flavorful, golden brown turkey.
The National Turkey Federation also offers these safety recommendations:
1. Do not roast the turkey in a oven temperature lower than 325° F. Poultry should be roasted at 325° F. or higher to avoid potential food safety problems.
2. Do not roast the turkey in a brown paper grocery bag. Present day grocery bags may be made of recycled materials and are not considered safe for food preparation.
3. Do use a meat thermometer (available at most grocery stores and kitchen shops) to determine the correct degree of doneness. Turkey is done when meat in the thigh reaches 180°F or (meat in the breast is finished at 170°F).
That said, here is an approximate turkey roasting timetable.
|Unstuffed Turkey||Stuffed Turkey|
|8 to 12 pounds — 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds — 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds — 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds — 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds — 4 1/2 to 5 hours
|8 to 12 pounds — 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds — 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds — 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds — 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds — 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours
|Heat Method||Oven Temperature||Appearance||Flavor Results||Suitable For Stuffing?|
|Dry Heat Meathod||325° F. results in minimum bird shrinkage and oven clean-up.||Golden brown color; crisp skin; juicy||Full roasted flavor; pan drippings are most concentrated to produce a great gravy; tender||Yes|
|Wrapped in foil, high temperature||Moist heat method with turkey encased in foil||450° F.||May have bare bones on drumsticks; split skin; uneven browning; foil must be opened to produce a golden brown color||May have a stewed or steamed flavor; a dry texture is possible||No|
|Oven cooking bag||Moist heat method with turkey enclosed in a cooking bag||350° F.||May have bare bones on drumsticks; split skin; uneven color and browning; skin may be torn if it sticks to the bag||May have a stewed or steamed flavor; a dry texture is possible||Yes|
|Covered charcoal grill||Dry heat method||Try to maintain temperature between 325-350° F. Varies with outside temperature, humidity and briquettes; extra briquettes must be added each hour.||Red-brown skin color; crisp skin; the charcoal combustion may result in a rosy band of meat just under the skin and slightly pink meat.||Mild to moderate smoky flavor; tender||No|
Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com