If you’re baking it at 325°F (the lowest temperature the USDA recommends), you’ll need to bake a 20-lb turkey in the oven for 4 to 5 hours if it’s unstuffed, and 4 ¼ to 5 ¼ hours if it’s stuffed.Nov 20, 2017
Roast the turkey uncovered at a temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F. Higher temperatures may cause the meat to dry out, but this is preferable to temperatures that are too low which may not allow the interior of the turkey to cook to a safe temperature.
For one 18- to 20-pound turkey, roast at 325°F for 4¼ to 4½ hours. For one 20- to 24-pound turkey, roast at 325°F for 4½ to 5 hours.
You’ll need a meat thermometer to make sure you cook your turkey to the right temperature. Insert it close to, but not touching, the thigh bone. If it reads 180 degrees F in the thigh and 170 degrees F in the breast, it’s done and ready to serve.
While some recipes state that turkey should be cooked to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the meat is safe to consume once it reaches the 165-degree mark. Cooking the breasts past 165 can result in dry meat, but the dark meat can be cooked to 180.
For 14 people, buy a 20-pound turkey.
Here’s the calculation: plan on 24 hours of fridge thawing for every 5 pounds of frozen turkey (for example: budget 4 full days of thawing in the fridge for a 20-pound turkey). Keep the turkey wrapped, and occasionally check to see if the baking sheet or roasting pan needs to be drained.
Turkeys between 4-6kg should be rested for 1½ hours, and ones from 6-10kg can rest for two hours. Get your turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it. You’ll get less shrinkage when it goes into a hot oven.
For 12- to 14-pound turkey, roast 3½ to 4 hours. For 14- to 18-pound turkey, roast 4 to 4¼ hours. For 18- to 20-pound turkey, roast 4¼ to 4¾ hours. For 20- to 24-pound turkey, roast 4¾ to 5¼ hours.
Most recipes will tell you to baste your turkey every thirty minutes. But our rule of thumb is actually every forty minutes, and here’s why. You don’t want to open the oven too many times, or else the whole bird will take much long to cook, and that’s a huge inconvenience.
|Unstuffed (10-15 lbs.)||8-11 min./lb||325|
|Unstuffed (over 15 lbs.)||7-10 min/lb.||325|
|4-6 lbs. Breast||16-19 min/lb||325|
Don’t butter your bird
Placing butter under the skin won’t make the meat juicier, though it might help the skin brown faster. However, butter is about 17 percent water, and it will make your bird splotchy, says López-Alt. Instead, rub the skin with vegetable oil before you roast.
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, washing raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or veal before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. Some consumers think washing removes bacteria and makes their meat or poultry safe.
Cook the turkey breast side down.
While the turkey roasts, the juices fall down towards the breast, resulting in the most succulent meat. The breast is also more protected from the heat, which helps keep it from getting too dried out.
To Brine or Not to Brine? Here’s the long and short of it: There’s no reason to brine your turkey… if you’re starting with a flavorful bird. When you brine a turkey, you’re adding more moisture to the bird, but the moisture is water.
The best way to be sure a turkey — or any meat — is cooked safely and done is to use a meat thermometer. If the temperature of the turkey, as measured in the thigh, has reached 180°F. and is done to family preference, all the meat — including any that remains pink — is safe to eat.
Keep your eye on the thigh.
To check for doneness without a thermometer, pierce the thigh and pay attention to the juices: if the juices run clear, it’s cooked, and if the juices are reddish pink, it needs more time. Put the turkey back in the oven and check again after a short time.
According to the Department of Agriculture, a turkey must reach 165 degrees F to be safe, but you can take it out of the oven as low as 160 degrees F because the temperature will rise at it rests.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends that your turkey reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F during cooking to be safely consumed based on the fact that bacteria threat, salmonella, cannot withstand temperatures of 160°F after 30 seconds.
The amount of resting time depends on the size of the bird, but at least 20 minutes is needed. A large bird can wait up to 40 minutes or longer, depending on the temperature of the room.
Male turkeys (“gobblers”) are between 2 ½ and 3 feet tall and weigh on average 16 pounds (with some individuals weighing in considerably larger!). Female turkeys (“hens”) are on average 2 feet tall with average weights of 9 to 10 pounds.
“The skin or surface of spoiled turkey meat is usually slimy, and the meat itself smells like rotten eggs or sulfur. These characteristics are due to microbial spoilage.” Spoilage might be expected if a turkey has been left in the refrigerator for a week or longer or left to thaw in the garage for a few hours.
The short answer is, not really. Of course, you can eat a turkey that has been thawed on a counter, and generations of us have grown up eating turkeys that sat out all night, but it’s not what modern food scientists recommend.
If your turkey is done too early, things can get a little complicated, but it’s not the end of the world. If it’s done around an hour early, let it rest uncovered for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then cover your turkey with some foil and a thick towel or blanket to keep it warm.
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