Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey: 101

How much turkey do I need to cook?
Typically, you should plan for 1 pound of turkey for every guest. This can change however, if your family are particularly big eaters, or if you want more leftovers. If that is the case, increase your estimate to 1.5 pounds of turkey per person.

How long do I have to defrost this turkey for?!
The rule is that every 5 pounds of turkey needs 24 hours to defrost in the fridge. It is very dangerous to defrost a turkey any other way-regardless of who told to otherwise.

What temperature to I have to cook the bird to?
Everything that ever had wings must be cooked to 165 degrees. Period. Do not rely on the pop up thingy that comes with your bird. Invest in a meat thermometer and use it. Calibrate the thermometer before testing the bird by setting it in ice water for a few minutes and making sure it reads 32 degrees.

How long do I cook the turkey for?
This question is very hard to answer, because cooking temperatures vary greatly based on ovens and location. However, use the following as a general rule, and modify it to your needs accordingly.

6 to 8 pounds 2½ to 3½ hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds 3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4¾ to 5¼ hours

Cooking your turkey at 325 degrees is ideal.

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