Cooking Free-Range Turkey
Cooking the once-a year perfect Thanksgiving Turkey shouldn't be something to lose sleep over! Here are a few tips for cooking a Pasture-Raised Free-Range Turkey...
- Plan for about 1.5lbs of turkey per person...if your turkey is bigger, plan for yummy re-creations!
- Start HIGH...450F...but only for 20 minutes. This step puts that initial "browning effect" on on your bird which crisps it up and seals in juices later.
- Turn the temperature down to 325-350F for the rest of the time.
- How long?? 12 min/lb (or 15min/lb if its stuffed). Even though many meat thermometers and cookbooks say cook until 185-190...DON'T DO IT!! If you want tender and moist meat a temperature of 165F in the breast meat is perfect. (that means USE a thermometer!) Every time you open the oven, it will extend your cooking time. These roasting times are just an estimate.
- Let the turkey rest 20-30 minutes before carving...the turkey continues to cook after you take it out of the oven and helps the juiceiness stay in the meat. and you'll also have time to finish preparing the meal.
- Don't use the convection setting...it can cook it too fast and dry it out.
- Oven Bags are okay to use. They can take up to an hour off of your cooking time. Still cook your turkey at 325 degrees and use a thermometer.
- Need to SEE someone preparing a turkey? mix and match techniques... brining, roasting, stuffing, smoking, seasoning and the cranberry sauce