Turkey Basics

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Preparing a Turkey for Roasting

  • Once the turkey has thawed, release the legs from the leg clamp or the band of skin crossing the tail. Also remove the giblets and neck from cavities. Rinse the turkey inside and out, let it drain, and pat dry with paper towels.
  • If you don't have an accurate meat thermometer, cook the stuffing separately because there is no visual test for stuffing doneness. Mix the stuffing just before you stuff and roast the bird. Allow 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of bird. Spoon some stuffing loosely into the neck cavity. Pull the neck skin over the stuffing and fasten to the back with a short skewer.
  • Loosely spoon stuffing into the body cavity rather than packing it. Otherwise, it won't get hot enough by the time the turkey is cooked. Spoon any remaining stuffing into a casserole; cover and chill until ready to bake. Tuck the legs under the band of skin that crosses the tail or reset the legs into the leg clamp. Or, tie the legs with kitchen string to the tail. Twist the wing tips under the back.
  • Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of an inside thigh muscle so the bulb doesn't touch bone. Cover the turkey loosely with foil, leaving space between the bird and the foil. Press the foil over the drumsticks and neck. Roast in a 325 degree F oven using the timings below as a guide.

Download our free roasting guide. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Continued on page 3:  Thermometer Tips


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