Giblets are defined as the heart, liver and gizzard of a poultry carcass. Although often packaged with them, the neck of the bird is not a giblet. They’re typically wrapped in plastic or paper and reinserted into the turkey’s body cavity. Traditionally, turkey giblets are cooked by simmering in water for use in flavoring soups, gravies or poultry stuffing.
For optimum safety, we recommend cooking stuffing separately in a casserole dish.
Preheat the oven to 325° F. For an unstuffed turkey, plan on 4½ to 5 hours. Begin to check your turkey for doneness about one-half hour before suggested end times. The best way to tell if your turkey is done is by internal temperature. If using a meat thermometer in addition to the pop-up timer, insert into the thickest part of the breast without touching the bone.
Yes, remove the hock lock. Also remove the neck and giblets from the cavity, trim the fat from the neck area and trim the tail area and wings. Check the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is not recommended to microwave a turkey.
Plastic or glass surfaces are best for cutting raw meat and poultry. Wooden cutting boards are acceptable as long as they’re used exclusively for raw meat and poultry. Cross-contamination during preparation, grilling and serving is a major cause of food-borne illness. A board used to cut raw meat may contain bacteria, which could contaminate other food. Make sure you use a different board to cut meat that’s cooked and any other food items you plan to serve, such as bread and fresh vegetables.
Turkey will cook faster in a dark roaster since it causes meat to brown at a faster rate. Be sure to start checking your meat thermometer approximately one hour before your turkey is supposed to be done.
The spring mechanism in the pop-up timer will sometimes fail. It is designed to “pop up” when steam causes the internal firing material to melt. We apologize if your timer failed to activate.
It could be from any number of reasons, from it being dislodged during transportation to improper insertion. Simply place the timer back where it was originally inserted.
A meat thermometer is the most accurate way to gauge whether or not your turkey is done—both a quality and safety perspective. Insert thermometer into thickest part of the breast until it touches bone and pull back 1 inch. You can also test temperature in the thigh. This chart gives you done temperatures for turkey.
|Thigh (in the inner thigh, near breast)||180° F|
We highly discourage using a brown paper bag for cooking. Not only are they not sanitary, but also they may cause a fire and can emit toxic fumes when exposed to heat. Intense heat may cause a bag to ignite, causing a fire in the oven and possibly adulterating the turkey. Instead, use oven cooking bags found at your grocer.
A self-basted turkey is one that has been pre-basted to enhance juiciness or tenderness. The basting could contain such ingredients as turkey broth, salt, sugar and flavorings.
It is not necessary to baste a self-basting turkey. It is also not necessary to baste a non-basted turkey but it does add nice color and flavor to the skin only. Basting generally does not penetrate below the skin. Most turkeys are pre-basted with broth already deep inside the meat, making it moist and tender. Repeatedly opening the oven door to baste only heats the kitchen and prolongs the cooking time.
Giblets weigh about 0.7 lbs.
Yes, it is necessary to remove the giblet packet and neck from the turkey before cooking. If you do not wish to use these items in stock or gravy you can dispose of them.
Thaw turkey and prepare according to package directions. Place turkey breast-side up on rack in shallow roasting pan. Brush breast with vegetable oil or melted butter. Roast at 325° F. When breast is golden brown, cover with a loose tent of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer reads at least 165° F in the breast. For easier slicing, let stand 10 minutes.
3-4 lb. turkey: Roast 1 – 1½ hours
4-5 lb. turkey: Roast 1½ – 2 hours
5-6 lb. turkey: Roast 2 – 2½ hours
6-7 lb. turkey: Roast 2½ – 3¼ hours
The device is called a hock lock, and is designed to secure the turkey legs together. The hock lock is made of a heat resistant nylon designed for roasting.
Yes, it is safe to roast a turkey with the hock lock on. If you are deep frying the turkey, you should remove it.
The hock lock can easily be removed after roasting by sliding off the turkey legs. Prior to roasting, it can be removed with kitchen shears.
Brining your turkey can add moisture to the meat. The salt in many brine recipes can help cause the meat tissues to absorb water and flavorings. We do not recommend using a brine recipe if you have purchased a turkey containing a basting solution.
We recommend following the manufacturer’s directions for preparing the grill. Here are some basic tips:
We recommend following the manufacturer’s directions for preparing the fryer. Here are some basic tips:
We recommend following the manufacturer’s directions for preparing the smoker. Here are some basic tips:
This guide to the perfect turkey gravy will have your family asking for more.
You are now ready to pour the gravy into a serving dish of your choice.
For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the breast in a casserole dish. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The center should reach the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
Skin color of raw turkey ranges from off-white to cream-colored. Under the skin, color can vary from pink to lavender-blue, depending on the amount of subcutaneous fat.
If the turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, it should be safe to eat. When there is a pink color in safely cooked turkey, it is due to the hemoglobin in tissues which can form a heat-stable color. This can also happen when smoking, grilling or oven cooking a turkey. See the next question for more information.
The color of cooked meat and poultry isn’t always a good indicator of doneness. Using a meat thermometer is the only accurate way to determine that meat has reached a safe temperature. Turkey, fresh pork, ground beef or veal can remain pink even after cooking to temperatures of 160° F and higher. Smoked turkey meat is always pink.
For food-safety reasons, it is not recommend to roast a turkey at a temperature lower than 325° F, where harmful bacteria thrive.
For food-safety reasons, it is not recommended to partially roast a whole turkey. Partially cooked meat and stuffing are ideal for bacteria growth.
Meat and poultry cooked on the grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a meat thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature. Whole poultry should reach at least 165° F. Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later. Cook food completely to destroy harmful bacteria.