How to cook a fresh turkey
The holidays bring about the discussion of one of the most popular versions of poultry, Turkey. Turkey meat can be both fresh and frozen. Though costlier, most people prefer a fresh turkey over a frozen turkey, because of the time it requires to thaw. There is a additionally a little uncertainty about the quality of frozen turkey meat. It is very important to choose the right turkey for your delicious dish and learn how to cook a fresh turkey .
Turkey meat is very popular and mainly used different types of culturally significant events. Such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthday celebration etc. Turkey can be cooked in special dinners such as family get together, friends hangout etc. People cook turkey for daily nourishment also.
Types of foods
Turkey can be used in different ways. Turkey can be whole, sliced, raw, only meat etc. What type of food you will make will determine what type of turkey you will want. For example sliced turkey is used to make sandwiches. Turkey can be used in cooking different types of food. Such as meatball, sandwich, burger, pizza, meatloaf, pasta, nachos, soup, muffins, pic, omelette, enchilada etc. Turkey meat can additionally be added to salads. So, what you will cook with turkey meat is totally up to you. Besides, you can make different types of traditional delicious foods by using turkey meat. Such as Turkey meatloaf, Turkey meat sub, Hawaiian turkey burger, Sweet potato turkey shepherd pie, Ground turkey sloppy joes, Turkey meatloaf, Dinner meatloaf muffin etc.
Measurements and temperature basics
Here is the measurement of turkey so that you can determine how big the turkey would be and how many people you can serve.
- A turkey of 5 pounds serves 4-6
- A turkey of 8 pounds serves 7-8
- A turkey of 10 pounds serves 8-10
- A turkey of 12 pounds serves 10-12
- A turkey of 15 pounds serves 12-15
You must not stuff until you are about to cook. You should stuff the neck cavity only. You will never stuff the body cavity. Because the body cavity will not cook through. You can fill with slices of lemon and sprigs of fresh herbs or onion to infuse the meat with more flavors. Now, I am explaining how much time it will take to thaw :
- If the weight is 5 pounds, you will Thaw in fridge for 27 hours and thaw in a cool room for 9 hours.
- If the weight is 8 pounds, you will thaw in fridge for 42 hours and thaw in a cool room for 12-14 hours.
- If the weight is 10 to 12 pounds, you will thaw in fridge for 66 hours and thaw in cool room for 18-22 hours.
- If the Weight is 15 to 17 pounds, you will Thaw in fridge for 90 hours and thaw in cool room for 27-30 hours.
Chart of Roasting Turkey
- If the turkey weight with giblets is 10-13 lb, oven temperature will be 350° and internal temperature will be 160°. And it will take 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/4 hours.
- If the turkey weight with giblets is 14-23 lb, oven temperature will be 325° and internal temperature will be 160°. It will take 2 to 3 hours to cook.
- If the turkey weight with giblets is 24-27 lb, oven temperature will be 325° and internal temperature will be 160° which will take 3 to 3 ¾ hours to cook.
- If the turkey weight with giblets is 28-30 lb, oven temperature will be 325° and internal temperature will be 160°. It will take 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours to cook.
- You can calculate and give 24 hours in the fridge for every 5 lbs of the turkey which is the safest and most perfect way to defrost).
- If you want to find out the internal temperature of the turkey, you can insert a thermometer through one of the thickest part of the breast to the bone.
- If the bird is stuffed, it may be cooked at the same rate as an unstuffed one. However always be prepared to allow 30 to 50 minutes more. Turkeys generally take about the same time to roast in convection and regular heat. But a convection oven plays a better role in browning the bird all over.
- When you remove the turkey legs, if the meat around the thigh joint seems too pink, you can cut the drumsticks from the thighs. And you can put the thighs in a shallow pan in a oven with 450° of temperature until there is no longer pink. It would take 10 to 15 minutes.
How to cook a fresh turkey?
Fresh Turkey can be both roasted and baked. You can also grill turkey meat. Well, I am now going to show how you can roast and bake turkey.
How to roast fresh turkey? I am going to elaborate for you. A thanksgiving favorite turkey food is juicy roast turkey. This is easy to make delicious food which is flavored with lemon, parsley and garlic. You will get the meat moist and flavorful if you roast turkey with a savory butter under the skin. To ensure if the turkey is cooked properly, you can bake the stuff separately. Well, the recipe that I am going to show you, will take approximately 3 hours and will serve 8-10 people.
- 1 free range turkey about 10 to 12 pounds.
- Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.
- Onions, peeled which are halved.
- 1 or 2 lemon, halved.
- 1 head of garlic which will be halved horizontally.
- 6-8 bay leaves.
- 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
- Olive oil to drizzle.
To make the butter you will need:
- 3/4 lb of butter at room temperature
- 1 table spoon of olive oil.
- Finely grated zest and juice of 2 small lemons
- 3 garlic cloves which will be peeled and crushed.
- small bunch flat leaf parsley leaves which will be chopped.
- A large tray
- A medium-sized bowl
- Spoons, skewer
Making of the butter
First of all, you have to preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7. At the same time, prepare the herb butter.Take a bowl and put the butter into a large bowl and mix with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and mix well. Then add the lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic and chopped parsley. Finally, mix well to combine properly.
Now, let’s move on to the main part. Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper and then fill with the onions, lemon, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves. Loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the bird with your hands so that you will be able to stuff the flavored butter underneath it. Of course make sure that you keep the skin intact.Now repeat this from the lower side of the breast with the skin on the legs. Feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap. Pack tightly half of the butter mix into the opened spaces under the skin. From the outside of the skin and massage the butter gently around the breasts so that the meat is covered evenly. Finally, insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts.
Setting in the tray
Now take a large tray and place the bird in that tray in a way where breast side remains up. Distribute the rest of the butter all over the skin. Season well with salt and pepper and after seasoning, drizzle with a little olive oil. If you want to prepare the dish a day ahead, cover the turkey with paper wrap and refrigerate at this stage.
If you want to cook now, than roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10–15 minutes. After 10-15 minutes, take the tray out of the oven and baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the smoked streaky bacon rashers over the breast to keep it moist and baste again. The bacon protects it from drying out. Now Lower the setting of your oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and cook for about 2 and a half hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg of meat) by basting occasionally.
Testing and checking
If you want to check whether your turkey is cooked, you can insert a skewer or something like skewer into one of thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear instead of pink. As the temperature of oven, the shapes of turkey and the sizes vary, it is very important to check your turkey about 30 minutes before the determined roasting time. If it seems that the juices are pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Do repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked.
Now transfer the turkey to a warmed and nice platter. Do remove the parson’s wings and tips of the drumsticks. You can reserve these for the gravy. Now leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for 45 minutes at least. In the meantime you can make the gravy. Before carving remove the bay leaves from under the skin . Your cooking is complete. And it is time to serve the ambrosia turkey with the potato hot gravy, stuffing and accompaniments. I also suggest you to serve with salad.
Deep fried turkey
Well, to deep fry fresh turkey you will need only 55-60 minutes. You can serve 12 people.
- One tablespoon smoked paprika.
- One tablespoon salt.
- On 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder.
- One 1/2 teaspoons black pepper.
- One 1/2 teaspoons onion powder.
- One teaspoon cayenne pepper.
- One teaspoon dried thyme.
- One (14-pound) turkey in which giblets were removed and washed and dried.
- 2 3/4 gallons of peanut oil will be needed for frying.(You will have to find out it )
- Serving platter.
How much oil will be needed is very important to measure. To find out the measurement of oil, you put the turkey in the fryer first and add water to top of turkey. Now remove the turkey and mark the water line with a crayon or marker. Then remove the water. The water line will tell you how much oil you will need to fry your turkey. To have too much oil can cause a fire. You must maintain that the pot should not be more than 75% full or the oil could overflow when you add the turkey. Remember to Dry the fryer before adding the oil.
After finding out the amount of oil needed for the deep-fryer,you must dry the turkey well inside and out before proceeding.
Now, mix the smoked paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and thyme together in a bowl properly. Now sprinkle the spice rub inside the empty space of the turkey and on the skin. With your hands, separate the skin from the breast meat. Now massage the rub onto the meat. And then put the turkey on a sheet tray and use a plastic wrap to cover. You can either refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours which is totally you decision.
Fill the electric deep-fryer with peanut oil and set preheat to 400 degrees F. It may take about 1 hour for the oil to come to temperature. Now remove the turkey from the refrigerator so that it can come to room temperature.
You need to wait and once the oil is hot and the turkey is at room temperature, lower the turkey into the hot oil. You need be very careful when you are lowering the turkey. Do make sure the oil maintains its temperature while frying. You will need to fry the turkey until the skin seems dark golden brown and crispy or until the internal temperature of the breast side is 155 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer. Which means you will need to fry roughly 45 minutes. Now be very careful when you remove the turkey from the oil. Now let it rest and drain on a wire rack about 30 minutes. The internal temperature will rise to 165 degrees Fahrenheit while resting.
Now, transfer the delicious turkey to a serving platter and serve and enjoy.