Roasting a turkey...

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Joined Dec 5, 2001
Help!!!

I am cooking this weekend for a large group of family and friends. This will be an early Thanksgiving dinner and I'm unsure how long to cook a stuffed turkey. I have cooked a number of unstuffed turkeys in the past and have always had success but I've never attempteed a stuffed bird. I just packed up all my cookbooks this weekend so I don't have any references at home. I'm moving next weekend from California to Virginia so this is my farewell feast to everyone. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

kuan

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Watch the butterball site crash every Thanksgiving! :) I don't know the exact time, but the turkey should be done when you stick the thermometer in the deepest part of the stuffing and it reads 160. Go to the store and buy an instant read thermometer. As far as I can recall, it normally takes around 4 hours at 350F when we do a medium to big turkey, around 20lbs with stuffing. I always look at the instructions which come with the turkey. It always seems to take longer than expected so put the turkey in early.

Kuan
 
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Joined Aug 29, 2000
Would you consider baking the stuffing separately, rather than in the bird? Depending on the bird, you may overcook the turkey before the stuffing gets up to a safe temperature. Food poisoning is a consideration.:(
 
90
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never had a problem with the stuffing not being done, at home we stuff the bird and cook off another pan, you could temp the stuffing if you are unsure:chef:
 
846
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Joined Nov 29, 2001
I would abandon cooking the bird stuffed. It only serves to prolong the cooking time and add grease to the stuffing (unnecessary for such a rich meal!). Cook your stuffing on the side.

I use this formula for cooking turkey by time/weight. From The Joy Of Cooking:

Directly upon removal from the refrigerator, place the bird in a preheated 450 oven. Reduce the heat immediately to 350 or to 325 for large turkeys.

Allow 20 to 25 minutes per pound for birds up to six pounds. For larger birds, allow 15 to 20 minutes per pound. For turkeys weighing over 16 pounds, allow 13 to 15 minutes per pound.


I know this sounds strange but it really works.


By temperature with a probe thermometer, I use the following formula from Good Eats. I brined the turkey which I highly recommend. Be sure not to try to brine a pre-stuffed turkey. Brining adds flavor and enables the turkey to retain moisture - especially with those big mutant birds (the kind that always finds its way to my table).

Good Eats Roast Turkey ... Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
1 gallon iced water

For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil
Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.

A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.

Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil.

Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.


Yield: 10 to 12 servings
 
750
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Joined Apr 30, 2001
Late, I know...but I'm adding my vote for slow-roasted sticky turkey. It takes about 8 hours for a 10 pound bird...but I have never had better turkey and I will never scortch a bird at 350° again! Stuffing, if absolutely needed, cooked on the outside.

Sure....and now I'm craving turkey....
 
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Joined Mar 26, 2002
For a long time, I've been creating a juicier and more flavorful bird by stuffing with onion, celery, carrots and garlic. I have gotten so many compliments on my efforts. It also helps to get a fresh, unfrozen bird. Other people who have followed this idea have also had spectacular results.

And of course, the bread stuffing is cooked on the side.
 
1,310
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Joined Dec 4, 2001
I really like chiffonade's brining method. I'm going to use it this year. Turkey is one of the most flavorless birds we eat and it needs lots of help to bring out any worthwhile taste. In the past I've used a simple brine (salt, sugar and water) which helps a bit, but chiff's sounds really good :)

Jock
 
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Joined Oct 17, 2002
Weighing in --

I have to agree on not stuffing the bird. Every time I've tried that the bird ends up dry because I had to cook it too long to get the stuffing up to temp.

Second, I used Alton Brown's recipe for brining (see post above) last year and it made a REALLY good turkey. I completely recommend it. Cutting slits in the turkey and stuffing them with butter helps too ;)
 
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could you steam off the stuffing in a combi before stuffing the bird to reduce cooking time?

Maybe even the bird itself?, just out of curiousity
 
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Joined Aug 7, 2001
I just got charged with the turkey for Christmas for dinner with my husband's side of the family.

I'm excited to try something completely different.
I'm going to hack it up first then cook it. That way the breast will be perfect, and the dark meat too. By cooking them at different times I can really get it all to perfection. I'm going to cook the dark meat in lots of liquid, then use that with roux to make my gravy.
Ummmhhhhhhhhh, I'm excited to try it and delighted the family doesn't give a hoot for viewing the bird in one piece.

Viva the revolution!

stuffing therefore on the side, of course.:bounce:
 

phatch

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I cook outdoors at least once a month all year. And this device has caught my eye.


It's a "convection" cast iron dutch oven and for a turkey you insert the convection cone in the turkey's cavity. 5 minutes a pound over medium low stove heat. I'll do that on the burner outside and use the inside equipment for the rest of the meal.

And it will see good use for lots of other dishes.

Phil
 

phatch

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I haven't weighed it. The box it came in was reinforced with masonite sheets. Probably 20-25 pounds. When I bought it I also saw a 22" cast iron dutch oven. Weighed about 170 pounds. Scared me a bit.

Phil
 
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
LOL - Hope you're inviting lots of manly men for Thanksgiving to help you carry it around!
 

phatch

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I've got the turkey going outside right now in that odd dutch oven. I haven't had to heft it up fully loaded yet. Shouldn't be too bad except for the door between the driveway and the kitchen.

Phil
 
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Joined Aug 29, 2000
We ate flavorful but dry turkey last night. It had had lots of cider poured over it, and that seemed to suck out the turkey's own juices. Does that seem possible? It did taste good, but all except the dark meat below the "juice" line in the pan was pretty dry. I felt bad for my BIL because he worked so hard and took such care. I think it the instant-read thermometer read 190 degrees when I advised him to take it out. He hadn't tested it earlier because he was worried about having the juices run out... :(
 
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Hope you had lots of gravy to moisten it up, Mezz! I, on the other hand, am ready to use my instant read for a cup hook. Day before T-day, I calibrated it, because I thought it had been running a little low. Got it to calibrate at 212 in boiling water. Stuck it in the turkey and read 180 degrees after about 3 hours, for a 13 lb. turkey - sounds about right, right? Weeeelllllll, we had raw dark meat!
 
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
I brined a free range turkey and then tried to roast it in the brick oven. It took about 4 minutes per side to turn it completely photo-shoot golden brown. Too hot, I guess. So I finished it in the house and popped it back in the brick monster, with which I am already bored having baked the one single perfect loaf of bread, for fifteen minutes at the end. Did a couple of roasted vegetable dishes in there, and then Msssss. Silverton's rosemary olive oil bread. Just polished off a sandwich made with some of these ingredients. Delicious. First turkey day I've been off in several years.
 
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