How to cook a perfect turkey

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I find this helpful when I cook the annual bird. This is from the National Turkey Federation.

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1 (8-12) lb
*whole turkey (allow 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person from an 8 to 12 pound turkey)
*salt & pepper to taste
*spices/seasoning as desired


1Do 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.
2Do 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.
3Do 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 in finished at 170°F.
4Frozen turkey, like all protein foods, should be thawed in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. When foods are thawed at room temperature, surface bacteria can rapidly multiply to dangerous levels at temperatures of 40 degrees F and above.
5For safety and superior quality, leave turkey in the original packaging and place in a shallow pan. Thaw, in the refrigerator, using the simple formula: whole turkeys thaw at a rate of 5 pounds per 24 hours. Example: A 15-pound frozen bird will take 3 full days to thaw in the refrigerator.
6To speed thawing, keep turkey in the original tightly sealed bag and place in a clean and sanitized sink or foodservice safe pan. Submerge in cold water and change the cold water every 30 minutes. The turkey will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw.
7Refrigerate (at 40 degrees F or below) or cook the turkey when it is thawed. Do not refreeze uncooked, defrosted turkey.
8 to 12 pounds -- 2 3/4 to 3 hours.
912 to 14 pounds -- 3 to 3 3/4 hours.
1014 to 18 pounds -- 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours.
1118 to 20 pounds -- 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours.
1220 to 24 pounds -- 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
8 to 12 pounds -- 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
1412 to 14 pounds -- 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
1514 to 18 pounds -- 4 to 4 1/4 hours.
1618 to 20 pounds -- 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours.
1720 to 24 pounds -- 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Turkey