Terrific Turkey Tips and Irresistible Recipes

Everything you ever wanted to know about cooking a turkey...but were to embarrassed to ask.

So you’re a turkey cooking newbie…or you just want a short refresher course. You’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about turkeys… from what size bird to buy to awesome cooking tips and even a few fantastic stuffing and sauce recipes.

Go forth and turkey. Gobble gobble!

What Size Turkey to Buy…?

How do you know what size bird you should buy? You could guess…or you can use this method: count the number of carnivores attending. Since you want leftovers for sammies, assume one pound of whole turkey (unstuffed) per carnivore. NOTE: the bigger the turkey, the bigger the proportion of meat to bone. Figure about a pound and a half per person if you’re buying the bird pre-stuffed.

How Long Will It Take to Defrost…?

Don’t forget to set aside enough time for that perfectly-sized turkey to defrost! There’s nothing worse than gearing up for a huge turkey dinner only to find your bird still partially frozen. Here are some guidelines:

If you are defrosting your turkey in the refrigerator it will take around 24 hours per every 5 pounds.

WEIGHT

FRIDGE TIME

8 – 12 pounds 24 – 48 hours or 1 – 2 days
12 – 16 pounds 48 – 72 hours or 2 – 3 days
16 – 20 pounds 72 – 96 hours or 3 – 4 days
20 – 24 pounds 96 – 120 hours or 4 – 5 days

 

If you are defrosting your turkey in cold water it will take around 30 minutes per pound (change the water every 1/2 hour).

WEIGHT

WATER TIME

8 – 12 pounds 4 – 6 hours
12 – 16 pounds 6 – 8 hours
16 – 20 pounds 8 – 10 hours
20 – 24 pounds 10 – 12 hours

Should You Brine Your Bird?

Some turkeys come  already brined, so don’t waste time doing it again at home. If it is brined, the ingredients should list an added solution (water or vinegar)…but be careful: pre-brining can mask added preservatives, so if you want to be certain of what you’re cooking and eating, purchase a fresh bird that isn’t brined and brine it yourself. Just soak the bird in some salty, sugary, spice [whatever spice—or spices—you want]-flavoured water overnight. Dry it, rub some butter on it and put it in the oven. Brining is super simple.

Hod to Calculate Proper Cooking Time:

Your turkey is thawed, brined or not brined, stuffed or not stuffed. Now it’s time to get it into the oven. Approximate cooking times listed below are for a whole turkey cooked at 325 degrees fahrenheit.

Weight (pounds)

8 – 12

12 – 14

14 – 18

18 – 20

20 – 24

24 – 30

Cooking Time (unstuffed)

2 3/4 –
3 hours
3 –
3 3/4 hours
3 3/4 –
4 1/4 hours
4 1/4 –
4 1/2 hours
4 1/2 –
5 hours
5 –
5 1/4 hours

Cooking Time (stuffed)

3 –
3 1/2 hours
3 1/2 –
4 hours
4 –
4 1/4 hours
4 1/4 –
4 3/4 hours
4 3/4 –
5 1/4 hours
5 1/4 –
6 1/4 hours

 

Whole Turkey Recipes:

 

Turkey Breast Recipes:

Stuffing, Gravy and Cranberry Sauce Recipes:

Still Need Help? Call (or email) the Turkey Hotline:

If you find yourself in a bind on the big day, don’t be afraid to give the experts a call or drop them an email—it could save the day (and your rep). Call Butterball Canada: 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372) or email: turkeytalkline@butterball.com

 

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