Wednesday, November 21, 2007

how long to cook a turkey

Work out how long to cook a turkey on the day before you cook, then plan your timetable around your turkey recipe, working backwards from when you want to serve a meal.
Start your cooking time to allow the cooked turkey to have at least 20 minutes to rest before you carve. This lets the flesh re-absorb the juices, and makes the bird easier to carve. Remove the roasted turkey from the pan, place it on a board and cover with a clean tea towel. It will stay hot for at least half an hour.

This roast turkey recipe suggests that you rub the turkey with softened butter and wrap in foil for most of the cooking time. Cooking begins with a short blast of heat, then there's a longer period at a lower heat, and then you should tear off the foil over the breast and finish cooking at a higher temperature.

Enjoy your turkey! And when the feasting's over, remember to check out Leftover Turkey Recipes, for delicious turkey soups, sandwiches and salads.

This one is easy - you should cook a turkey until it is done but not over-done. You measure how long to cook a turkey not with a clock or a timer but with a thermometer. Scroll down to see charts for approximate cooking times.
A reliable instant read thermometer is indispensable; invest in a good one.

The turkey cooking times that you see in cookbooks are only guidelines. They don't try to mislead you; there are just too many variables to rely on time alone.

Some of the variables which influence cooking times for turkey include:

the size of the turkey, the weight of the bird, the moisture content, the temperature of the turkey when it goes into the oven, the cooking temperature, loss of oven heat caused by opening the oven door, temperature fluctuation caused by the oven thermostat, incorrect oven temperature caused by a mis-calibrated thermostat, even altitude will effect cooking time.

And when we move to the backyard, the list includes: outdoor temperature, wind, and numerous other factors dependant on the cooking method and type of cooker.

So how long to cook a turkey doesn't have an precise answer. There is a range of times when it might be done. To help control some variables, use an oven thermometer to double check your oven's temperature. For outdoor cooking, be sure your grill thermometer is accurate. And always use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey itself.

The final temperature of the bird, after "resting" for 15 to 20 minutes, should be at least but not much more than 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature will continue to rise 5 to 10 degrees after the turkey is removed from the oven.

The only hard part is getting the legs done before the breast dries out. For information about overcoming this problem click here.

Cook for Thanksgiving with titles like Thanksgiving 101 when you join The Good Cook. 4 books for $1.

Do you want a guide even though you know the times are estimates?

Here is the best information we have found for how long to cook a turkey. Use the charts below to get an idea of cooking times for turkey, but check the temperature up to an hour in advance to be certain you don't overcook.

A probe thermometer, designed to stay in the meat during cooking, lets you keep watch on the turkey's temperature without opening the oven door. And, if you need to get it done faster, you can always crank up the heat. (See more information about thermometers under the turkey cooking equipment section.)

Unfortunately we have had trouble with probes malfunctioning and a lot of other people have too. We still use


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