What time do I put the turkey in the oven? How long do I cook the turkey for? These are the two age-old questions that have been asked since the first Thanksgiving dinner.
So here you go: Plan on 20 minutes per pound in a 350 degree F oven for a defrosted turkey and 10 to 15 minutes per pound for fresh. If your turkey gets done before your guests arrive, pull it from the oven, place a large sheet of aluminum foil over the top, and then drape a large kitchen towel over the entire thing. This will help keep the heat in and the bird from drying out. If your bird seems a little dry, heat a few inches of turkey or chicken stock in a wide pan, slice the turkey, and drag the slices through the bath to get a little more moisture in there.
Another question we ponder this time of year is, “Should I brine my turkey?” Brining is a way of marinating and adding moisture to lean meat. The turkey or other meat is soaked in a mixture of salt and water for a few hours or days before cooking. Some recipes call for adding other flavoring ingredients to the brine, such as sugar, herbs, and spices, but they aren’t necessary. The simplest brining solution is to dissolve 1 cup salt per gallon cold water for 4- to 6-hour brine or 1/2 cup salt per gallon cold water for 12- to 14-hour brine (the shorter the soak, the saltier the brine needs to be to do the work).
From all of us at Angus Brands, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and juicy turkey!
Written by Angus Brands’ Jeff Curry