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How do you cook a turkey, to make it taste good, the right way?

15 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that the turkey be cooked to a temperature of 165°F (74°C), as measured in the innermost part of the thigh. If the thigh is 165°F, the breast meat is likely to be 10°F hotter. Many cooks would tell you that a turkey roasted to those temperatures is overdone and would taste unacceptably dry.

    Cookbook author Madeleine Kamman gives you some latitude if you know how well the turkey has been cared for since its demise. If it has traveled a long distance (and therefore had plenty of time for bacteria to multiply), she suggests at least 170° for the breast. The minimum breast temperature — the point at which bacterial are killed — she says, is 150°F (66°C).


    Herb-Butter Roast Turkey

    # 1 14-pound turkey

    # 1/2 teaspoon salt

    # 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    # 1/2 cup butter, softened

    # 2 to 3 tablespoons snipped fresh thyme, tarragon, marjoram, and/or rosemary

    # 2 cloves garlic, minced


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove giblets and neck from inside turkey; reserve for Vegetable-Puree Gravy (recipe, xx). Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Cut off wing tips; reserve for gravy. Sprinkle body cavity with salt and pepper.

    2. For herb-butter seasoning, in a small bowl, combine butter, herb, and garlic. Starting at the neck end of the turkey, loosen the skin by sliding your fingers underneath it, being careful not to tear it. Slide your hand as far as you can toward the other end of the turkey, separating the skin from the meat. Rub about two-thirds of the herb-butter seasoning over the entire breast.

    3. Spoon some of the Pear-Pecan Stuffing loosely into the neck cavity. Pull neck skin to back and fasten with a skewer. Spoon more of the stuffing loosely into the body cavity. (If you pack stuffing too tightly, it will not get hot enough by the time the turkey is cooked.) If a band of skin crosses the tail, tuck the ends of the drumsticks under band. If there is no band, tie drumsticks to the tail using 100-percent-cotton string. Place the remaining stuffing in a 2-quart casserole; cover and chill.

    4. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of one of the inside thigh muscles. (The thermometer should not touch bone.)

    5. Rub remaining herb-butter seasoning over the entire turkey. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue roasting for 2-1/2 hours. Cut the band of skin or string between the drumsticks so the thighs will cook evenly. Continue roasting for 1 to 1-1/2 hours more or until thermometer registers 180 degrees F to 185 degrees F and stuffing in turkey registers 165 degrees F. Bake casserole of stuffing alongside turkey the last 40 minutes of roasting. Uncover turkey the last 30 minutes of roasting.

    6. Remove turkey from oven. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. To serve, remove stuffing from turkey and place in a serving bowl. Carve turkey and serve with stuffing. Makes 14 servings.

    Pear-Pecan Stuffing

    * 1 pound firm-texture white sandwich bread

    * 2 tablespoons butter (no substitutes)

    * 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)

    * 2 large firm ripe Bartlett pears, cored, peeled, and chopped

    * 1/2 to 3/4 cup water

    * 1/4 cup butter (no substitutes)

    * 1 cup pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped

    * 2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian parsley

    * 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    * 1/8 teaspoon salt

    * Dash freshly ground black pepper


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F .

    2. Spread bread slices on baking sheets. Place baking sheets in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until bread is dry.

    3. Place the 2 tablespoons butter, the onion, and pear in a large skillet; cook over medium heat until tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

    4. Break the dried bread into small pieces. Place in a very large bowl. Bring 1/2 cup water and the 1/4 cup butter to boiling in a small saucepan. Add to bread crumbs, and toss just until moistened.

    5. Stir in pear mixture, pecans, parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the remaining water as needed until mixture reaches desired moistness. Stuff turkey and roast in a 325 degree F oven or transfer stuffing to a 2-quart casserole and bake, covered in a 325 degree F or 350 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until heated through. Makes 12 to 14 servings.

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  • 1 decade ago

    rinse it, pat it dry with a paper towel.

    sprinkle it with kosher salt( or any salt) and pepper, and some sage or italian seasoning, or poultry seasoning. melt some butter and pour over turkey. cook at 375 until the meat themometer pops out. if it doesn't have one, then make sure to cook it for at least 31/2 hours or more depending on the size. you can find the exact cooking time on any how to website, such as My kids say when I cooked it this way it was the best I ever made. (yesterday). I got these instructions from the H.E.B. Central Market Grocery Store Holiday cooking guide.

    Source(s): Professional Cooking Booklet from Grocery Deli. My Family Raved about it, and it went from tasting to half eaten. two days before T-giving. Carmen
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The whole key is to lock in the moisture, which foil and a lid wont do. You need to bathe the outside of the turkey in mayonnaise or butter, along with your spices. I find that mayo works the best. Sounds gross, but both products are very fatty and lock in the juices. When you serve it you cant even tell you had mayo on it. Just slap it on with a brush. Dont use Miracle Whip because it has alot of sugar. I just take a bowl and put the mayo in it, along with all the sprices, and just brush it all over the turkey like a mad man! Nice and thick. the mayo also adds a nice strong flavor to the skin..........cant beat it. Trust me!

    Source(s): Many years of doing it!
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  • 1 decade ago

    It won't be doing your heart any favours but cover it completely in bacon, then tent it with foil and cook it in a low over for a long time. When the juices are clear uncover the bird and take off the bacon, turn up the heat and let it brown. You won't believe how delicious the bacon makes it. For an unusual taste my best friend smothers it in maple syrup after covering it with bacon.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I soak mine in a herb/brine solution for 12 to 18 hours prior to cooking. I add salt/pepper and spices and inject spiced butter into the meat and cook it in the over at 325 degrees for about 5 minutes per pound.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I brine my turkey every year, and have forever. This is roughly the recipe I follow.

    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.

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  • 1 decade ago

    That all depends on how you are going to cook it. The three best methods are smoked, grilled, and baked, and in that order. Baking one takes much longer and usually dries out the turkey.

    Check out the different methods to cook it on the internet. Find which one suits your needs.

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  • JerZey
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I would remove the skin. Rub it down with butter and sprinkle garlic on it. Bake it at 350 for 30minutes for each pound of weight... It's yummy that way. The key is 30 minutes for each pound of meat. If you don't like garlic, you can use lemon's good also.

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  • 1 decade ago

    in a bowl mix soft real butter,salt, pepper sage. wash your bird, pat dry with paper towels, rub your bird with the butter mix cover with foil and cook according to instructions, uncover on the last thirty minutes

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  • 1 decade ago

    here's a link on turkey cooking instructions and tips :D

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