Tahlequah Daily Press

Online Exclusives

November 19, 2013

Ways to cook turkey

TAHLEQUAH — Butterball is one of the U.S.’s most popular turkey purveyors and instituted a holiday cooking tip line several years ago. With the advent of the Internet, Butterball has taken its tipline even farther, adding step-by-step details online, as well as videos on how to cook the perfect bird.

Comprehensive information about specific cooking times for different bird weights can be found at www.butterball.com/how-tos/roast-a-turkey.

Information is also available on the Butterball site for marinating, brining, stuffing, frying and rotisserie roasting turkeys.

Below are general rules for roasting turkeys.:

Fresh or frozen whole turkeys

•    Preheat oven to 325° F. Drain juices and pat dry with clean paper towels.

•    Place turkey breast side up on a flat rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2? inches deep.

•    Turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place. (Tucking the wings will help stabilize the turkey in the pan and when carving)   Brush or spray skin lightly with vegetable or cooking oil for best appearance.

•    Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of the thigh without touching the bone. When the thigh is up to temperature, and if the turkey is stuffed, move the thermometer to the center of the stuffing.

•    Place your turkey in the oven.

•    When the turkey is about 2/3 done, loosely cover breast and top of drumsticks with a piece of foil to prevent overcooking.

•    Your turkey is done when temperature is 180° F in thigh and 165° F in breast or stuffing.

•    Lift turkey onto platter, and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Frozen stuffed whole turkeys

Frozen stuffed turkeys go from freezer to oven without thawing. Just follow these simple instructions for a perfectly roasted turkey:

•    Preheat oven to 325° F. Hold under running water and remove giblets, neck, and gravy packets.

•    Place turkey on flat rack in a shallow roasting pan, 2 to 2? inches deep.

•    Brush or spray skin lightly with vegetable or cooking oil for best appearance.

•    Cover neck and exposed stuffing with foil to prevent over-browning. Place turkey in pre-heated oven.

•    When turkey is about ? done, loosely cover breast and top of drumsticks with a piece of foil to prevent overcooking.

•    After about 3 hours, insert an oven-safe thermometer deep into the thigh without touching the bone.

•    Begin checking the turkey for doneness about 30 minutes before the recommended cook time. 

•    Your turkey is done when meat thermometer reaches 180° F in thigh and 165° F in center of stuffing.

•    Lift turkey onto platter and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Fully cooked whole turkeys

Fully cooked turkeys are an easy way to get a great tasting turkey on the table in less time. Follow these special directions for a delicious meal:

•    Preheat oven to 325° F. Remove wrapper. Do not stuff.

•    Place thawed turkey, breast side up, on flat rack in shallow roasting pan 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep.

•    Brush or spray skin lightly with vegetable or cooking oil for best appearance.

•    Insert oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the thigh without touching the bone.

•    Place turkey in pre-heated oven and heat until hot (140° F).

For smoked turkey

•    Cover pan completely with foil for the entire cooking time.

For baked turkey

•    Cover breast loosely with foil after 1 to 1? hours to prevent over-browning and drying.

 •    Begin checking the turkey for doneness about 30 minutes before the recommended cook time. 

•    Your turkey is done when the meat thermometer reaches 140° F in thigh.

•    Carve and serve immediately.

Whole turkey breasts

Turkey breasts cook up tender and delicious, and are easy to roast when you follow these simple directions:

•    Preheat oven to 325° F.

•    Remove whole breast from bag. Drain juices and pat dry with clean paper towels.

•    Place breast, skin side up, on a flat roasting rack in a 2-inch deep roasting pan. Do not add water to pan.

•    Brush or spray skin lightly with vegetable or cooking oil for best appearance.

•    Roast uncovered according to Cooking Schedule or until meat thermometer in thickest part of breast reaches 170° F. If breast is stuffed, center of stuffing should be 165° F.

•    Roasting time will vary if turkey is covered or placed in an oven-cooking bag.

•    Before you remove the stuffing and carve, let your turkey breast stand for 15 minutes to allow the juices to set.

You can roast a frozen turkey breast too. Just follow these steps:

•    Roast skin side down, uncovered, on a flat rack in a 2-inch deep open roasting pan at 325° F for the first hour.

•    Remove from oven and carefully remove gravy packet and refrigerate packet for future use.

•    Turn breast skin side up, and brush or spray skin lightly with vegetable or cooking oil for best appearance. Return to oven.

•    Roast uncovered according to Cooking Schedule or until meat thermometer in thickest part of breast reaches 170° F. If breast is stuffed, center of stuffing should be 165° F.

•    Let breast stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Boneless roasts

For smaller groups that love that roasted turkey taste, try a boneless roast. It’s easier than ever with these directions:

•    Preheat oven to 325° F.

•    Remove outer plastic netting and packaging. Leave inner string netting on the roast.

•    Drain juices and pat dry with clean paper towels. Refrigerate gravy packet.

•    For easier net removal before serving, lift string netting and shift position on roast.

•    Place roast, skin side up, on a flat roasting rack in 2-inch deep roasting pan. Do not add water to pan.

•    Roast uncovered according to Cooking Schedule or until meat thermometer in center of breast roast reaches 170° F and in center of turkey roast reaches 175° F.

•    Roasting time will vary if turkey is covered or placed in an oven-cooking bag.

•    For easier net removal after roasting, wrap roast in foil and let stand 10 minutes. Remove netting and slice roast.

To cook roast from frozen, try this method:

•    Preheat oven to 325° F.

•    Remove gravy packet with spatula and refrigerate.

•    Place roast, skin side up, on a flat roasting rack in a 2-inch deep roasting pan. Do not add water to pan.

•    Roast uncovered according to Cooking Schedule or until meat thermometer in center of breast roast reaches 170° F and in center of turkey roast reaches 175° F.

•    For easier net removal after roasting, wrap roast in foil and let stand 10 minutes. Remove netting and slice roast.

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