November 21st, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
Click here to read Part 1 of this story, which covers traditional oven cooking.
Grilling a Turkey
Grilling a big bird for the holiday meal has become a popular cooking method. During grilling, a turkey cooks by indirect heat in an outdoor covered gas or charcoal grill, and a pan of water is placed beneath the grilling surface to catch the fat and juices that drip from the turkey as it cooks. The hot, smoky, steamy air cooks the bird.
Turkeys 16 pounds or smaller are the recommended size for safe grilling. A larger turkey remains in the “danger zone”—between 40°F and 140°F— for too long. Do not stuff the turkey. Because cooking occurs at a low temperature, it can take too long for the stuffing to reach 165°F. Also, smoked stuffing has an undesirable flavor.
Electric Roaster Oven
Generally, the cooking time and oven temperature setting are the same as for conventional cooking. Preheat the oven to at least 325°F. Place the turkey on the roaster oven rack or other meat rack so the turkey is raised out of the juices that collect in the bottom of the oven liner. Leave the lid on throughout cooking, removing it as little as possible to avoid slowing the cooking process. Always check the roaster oven’s use and care manual for the manufacturer’s recommended temperature setting and time.
More Ways to Cook a Turkey
Deep-fat frying, smoking, using an oven cooking bag, roasting in aluminum foil, microwaving, using a pressure cooker and cooking a frozen turkey without thawing it are other ways to get the big bird done.
For information about these methods, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) 674-6854, or click here to read Turkey: Alternate Routes to the Table.
Information and photo courtesy of the USDA
Read More:Organic Turkey: Cook It Your Way! (Part 2)
November 20th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
No matter how you cook your organic turkey, use a food thermometer to ensure the bird and stuffing reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, you may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.
These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer.
Approximate Whole-Turkey Cooking Times (Fresh or Thawed in a Preheated 325°F Oven)
- 8 to 12 pounds: 2¾ to 3 hours (unstuffed), 3 to 3½ hours (stuffed)
- 12 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3¾ hours (unstuffed), 3½ to 4 hours (stuffed)
- 14 to 18 pounds: 3¾ to 4¼ hours (unstuffed), 4 to 4¼ hours (stuffed)
- 18 to 20 pounds: 4¼ to 4½ hours (unstuffed), 4¼ to 4¾ hours (stuffed)
- 20 to 24 pounds: 4½ to 5 hours (unstuffed), 4¾ to 5¼ hours (stuffed)
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of this story, which covers cooking your organic turkey in the electric roaster oven and outdoor grill, among other methods.
Information courtesy of the USDA
Read More:Organic Turkey: Cook It Your Way! (Part 1)
November 19th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
It’s unsafe to thaw a frozen turkey at room temperature. Two safe ways to do so are in the refrigerator or in cold water. See the chart below for estimated thawing times.
Whether you have a frozen or fresh turkey, cook it within 1 or 2 days of purchase, or after thawing.
In the Refrigerator (40°F or Below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds.
- 4 to 12 pounds: 1 to 3 days
- 12 to 16 pounds: 3 to 4 days
- 16 to 20 pounds: 4 to 5 days
- 20 to 24 pounds: 5 to 6 days
Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.
In Cold Water
Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound.
- 4 to 12 pounds: 2 to 6 hours
- 12 to 16 pounds: 6 to 8 hours
- 16 to 20 pounds: 8 to 10 hours
- 20 to 24 pounds: 10 to 12 hours
Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.
Tune in tomorrow for information on cooking times.
Information and photo courtesy of the USDA
Read More:Thawing Your Organic Turkey