Roasting Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Cooking for Thanksgiving for most of us will mean roasting the turkey in the oven.  Of course, there are other methods to cook the bird, including grilling, smoking, and deep-frying, but we are talking about roasting.  Sue Smith from the Butterball Hotline says prepare your bird with the seasoning of your choice.  Smith says stuffing the bird is a personal choice.

She also talked about the roasting process.

Basting of the turkey is a personal preference.  Some will swear by basting, while others choose not to baste.  During the roasting, if the top, wingtips or drum sticks start to get too browned, you can cover those with some foil to keep them from getting too dark.

How long will the bird take to cook?  That depends on the size and if it is stuffed or unstuffed.

The US Department of Agriculture has these recommendations:

APPROXIMATE COOKING TIMES
(325 F oven temperature)

UNSTUFFED (time in hours)

    •  4 to 6 lb. breast only   1 1/2 to 2 1/4
    •  6 to 8 lb. breast only   2 1/4 to 3 1/4
    •  8 to 12 lbs…………….  2 3/4 to 3
    • 12 to 14 lbs……………  3 to 3 3/4
    • 14 to 18 lbs……………  3 3/4 to 4 1/4
    • 18 to 20 lbs……………  4 1/4 to 4 1/2
    • 20 to 24 lbs……………  4 1/2 to 5

STUFFED (time in hours)

    •  8 to 12 lbs……………   3 to 3 1/2
    • 12 to 14 lbs…………..   3 1/2 to 4
    • 14 to 18 lbs…………..   4 to 4 1/4
    • 18 to 20 lbs…………..   4 1/4 to 4 3/4
    • 20 to 24 lbs…………..   4 3/4 to 5 1/4

When the roasting is complete and the meat has reached the correct temperatures, pull the bird from the oven and allow it to rest for 15-30 minutes to redistribute the juices.  This will also give you time to make the gravy finish the sides and maybe get them in the oven and take care of other last minutes details before carving.

One comment

  • I’m determined to cook a delicious turkey this year for Thanksgiving. The last few years have been a real disappointment. For some reason I just can’t get the bird to turn out moist and soft. This year is gonna be the one!

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