Cooking the Perfect Turkey

Equipment Needed

1. Roaster Pan
2. Poultry temperature gauge or instant food thermometer
3. Parchment paper
4. Aluminum foil
5. Towel


Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Teaspoon Thyme (Optional)
1 Teaspoon crushed Rosemary (Optional)

What size of turkey is best?

Smaller turkeys cook better and are much less likely to dry out so there is a preference for a smaller turkey. A general rule of thumb is about 1.5 lbs per person or a 10.5 lb turkey for 5 people. Cooking for 10 people, use two 10 to 11 lb turkeys versus one very large turkey. More drumsticks and thighs to go around for those that love them.

How to thaw the turkey

A fresh turkey is preferable, but those are harder to find. It is approximately 1 day per every five pounds of turkey to thaw. So, a 10 to 11 lb turkey will take two days in the refrigerator to thaw.

Where to cook the stuffing

There are both sides to this dilemma. The wild rice apple stuffing is perfect either way.

How to cook the turkey

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. The higher temperature approach will produce the skin that is crispy.

2. Take ghee, olive oil or avocado oil and spread on the bird. I prefer to use avocado oil.

3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Rub with the optional herbs and spices.

4. Place in the roasting pan.

5. The key with cooking turkey is NOT to overcook or undercook. Try to use a good food instant reading thermometer. Typically, the little plastic red button that pops up will do so when the turkey is overcooked and dry.

6. Turkey is done at 165 F, according to the FDA.

7. The following are approximate times. Check the turkey temperature about 1 hour before these times and then every 15 minutes and then check more often as it gets closer to the 165 F.

Turkey Weight Cook Time
10 lbs 2 hours and 15 minutes
11 lbs 2 hours and 22 minutes
12 lbs 2 hours and 30 minutes
13 lbs 2 hours and 38 minutes
14 lbs 2 hours and 45 minutes
15 lbs 3 hours
16 lbs 3 hours and 15 minutes
17 lbs 3 hours and 30 minutes
18 lbs 3 hours and 45 minutes
19 lbs 3 hours and 52 minutes
20 lbs 4 hours
Greater than 20lbs Not recommended

8. Check the temperature of the turkey.
The best way to check the temperature of a turkey is to stick an instant read food thermometer in the meatiest part of the thigh and breast. Both of those should be 165 F to be done.

9. Wrap the turkey in parchment paper and then in aluminum foil. Then, place a towel over it to keep it nice and warm. Now this will also stop the “snitchers” from coming and grabbing a piece.

10. Let the turkey rest while you prepare the rest of the meal.

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