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Turkey Roasting Tips

When roasting a turkey, keep these tips in mind

Roasting a turkey is fairly straightforward, but there are always a few tips and tricks - along with some basic rules - that will help produce a better bird.

The rules will vary depending on whether you choose to stuff your bird, or not. We do not advocate it from a food safety standpoint, but many long-time cooks still prefer that method to produce delicious dressing. Additionally, we like our stuffing with somewhat crusty sides and bottom - that means it gets well-done, but when carefully tended, never too dry.

Internal temperature does not vary, regardless of the presence of stuffing or the size of the birds. The rules are pretty strict about this.

-Internal temperature at the deepest part of the thigh (without touching bone): 180 degrees F.
-Internal temperature at the deepest art of breast (without touching bone): 170 degrees F.
-Internal temperature of stuffing inside turkey: 165 degrees F.

While those popup timers that are pre-inserted in some birds are great - remember to back up with a regular - and reliable - kitchen thermometer. The pop-ups should be considered only as your "first line of defense." You can also "pre-test" for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the breast or leg. If the juices are clear, the bird is done.

Some recommend to cook the turkey for the first hour with the breast side down. This may lead to juicier breast meat. Flip over and continue cooking.

Even if you're not stuffing the bird, add salt and pepper along with veggies (celery, onions, carrots) for extra flavoring. Don't ever pack the bird, however.

When placing a foil covering over a bird, set it up like a tent with vents and place the shiny side outward.

Dark meat takes longer to cook. Today's breeders are producing birds with greater amounts of white meat, so always check the thigh first, but be careful of drying out the rest of the bird.

Use shallow roasting pans if possible. Higher sides means that part of the bird is not receiving as much heat as the meat that is above.

If you're cooking other dishes alongside the turkey, it's perfectly acceptable to raise the oven temperature from 325 degrees F. to 350 degrees F. Just watch the breast for signs of drying. In fact, if you do this, you may want to tent the bird.
Avoid opening the oven door as much as possible as too much heat escapes and will affect cooking time.

For crispy skin, however, you'll need to baste. This does not keep your turkey moist on the inside, however, as the juice never penetrates.

 


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