Let’s Talk Turkey: 12 Q & A’s for Cooking Turkey

Whether it’s your first time cooking a turkey or your 20th time, here are 12 most asked cooking questions and their answers! I hope they are helpful to you this Thanksgiving–or anytime you cook turkey throughout the year for that matter!

12 Q & A’s for Cooking Turkey

When should I buy a turkey?
If you’re buying a frozen turkey, at least five days in advance because you have to take into account the defrosting time. You can buy a frozen turkey and keep it in your freezer for up to a year.

How long does it take to defrost?
It’ll depend on how big the bird is. 20 lbs may take 4 -5 days in the fridge. You can use this calculator here: straighthealth.com/pages/tools/turkey-thaw-time-calculator.html

How can I make thawing faster?
The safest and easiest way to thaw a turkey is in the fridge. You can put the turkey in cold water, but the water has to be changed every 30 minutes. This method is good when the turkey is till partially frozen.

What size turkey should I buy?
It’ll depend on how many people you’ll be feeding. Many websites state one pound per person. You can use this as a rough estimate. Don’t forget a turkey will also “shrink” after it is cooked. Also, you may want to aim a little higher if your family enjoys leftovers as much as ours do!

What I can use the neck and giblets for?
You can boil these and then chop up the giblets for your gravy or for your stuffing. The water can be used to moisten the bread crumbs used for making stuffing.

Should I marinate the turkey?
You can if want to add more flavor. Put the turkey in the fridge to marinate. Discard any marinade left in the pan.

Should I baste my turkey?
Yes! In my opinion, basting your turkey not only contributes to the over all moistness, it also helps give it that nice crunchy skin! Yum! You can rub olive oil or butter on the turkey before roasting to get the golden color. However, you will need to keep in mind that basting will increase the cooking time since opening and closing the oven door lets the heat out. So, be quick! Something that I do that helps is I cook the turkey completely covered (tightly) with foil for the first two hours of cooking (I also do this because I stuff my turkey, so I want to endure steam penetrating the center). I make sure NO air can get out of the sealing and I do not open the oven for those 2 hours at all…THEN, I begin my basting. After each basting, I recover the turkey until I get to the last hour of cooking–then I keep it completely uncovered.

When should I baste the turkey?
Every 30-45 minutes…after the first 2 hours if you follow my method mentioned above.

Should I stuff the turkey?
This is really a personal preference. Some people do and some do not. I do. I just like it more and the juices that have flowed through the turkey during cooking make for a tastier stuffing in my opinion. Stuffing the turkey will take longer for the bird to cook though, so plan accordingly, and make sure the temperature is safe in the center before serving! Also, do not over stuff it.

How do I know when the turkey is cooked?
If the turkey is stuffed, the thermometer should be at least 165 F in the center of the stuffing and 180 F – 185 F in the thigh and breast. Juices should also run clear. (source: www.fsis.usda.gov)

Are there other ways I can cook a whole turkey?
Yes, you can also deep fry your turkey or grill it, but for grilling, the turkey should weigh less than 16 lbs.

How long should I let the turkey rest before carving?
Allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

HAPPY Thanksgiving!

Copyright © Lara Velez, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved

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