How to make it

  • # For a frozen bird: Place the frozen turkey on a dish to catch any liquid and allow one day for every four pounds of turkey.
  • # Here's where not goofing around in math class will finally come in handy. A sixteen pound turkey will take four days in the fridge.
  • # Don't even think about thawing it on the counter, and yes I know our parents used that lovely method but it is one of the best ways to spend most of the day after Thanksgiving in the ER.
  • # You can't smell if food is contaminated but your gastrointestinal tract can figure it really quickly out.
  • # To overstate: Thaw the turkey in the fridge.
  • # Okay, you forgot to take the turkey out of the freezer and its 8:00 am on Thanksgiving morning. Don't panic. Submerge the frozen bird in cold not hot water. Keep changing the water every 30 minutes. It should take about 30 minutes per pound so that sixteen pound bird should be thawed in 8 hours.
  • # As long as you don't stuff it you'll be eating some time around 9:00 pm. Just another really good reason why you should write yourself a note to take that sixteen pound frozen bird out of the freezer four days before you need it.
  • Fresh turkeys are usually bought a couple of days before Thanksgiving. But I totally hate grocery shopping with the frenzied, hence my attraction to the frozen bird.
  • I really love the turkeys that you cook from frozen. No need to thaw. The turkeys are brined before they're stuffed and then flash frozen. For the turkey challenged they really are the easiest bird to cook. All you do is remove the wrapper, place the frozen turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, rub on some canola oil and put it into the oven. You test for doneness exactly the same way as a standard turkey and it comes out moist and juicy every time. For ease and convenience its my bird of choice.
  • Wash those hands
  • When you cook you need to make sure that your hands are clean.
  • # Wash your hands with soap and water before and after turkey prep
  • # Wash anything that came into contact with the raw turkey in hot soapy water
  • # Wipe counters and taps with paper towels and hot soapy water and a disinfectant
  • # Use paper towels not a cloth for all clean up when using raw protein
  • To stuff or not to stuff?
  • Health Canada says no. Stuffing is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. They recommend that the stuffing is cooked separately either in an oven-friendly dish or on the stove top. They also say that if you swear by your family recipe, skip any raw ingredients, stuff loosely, cook till you reach an internal temperature of 165F (75C) and then remove the stuffing from the bird.
  • How long to cook? These are the guidelines:
  • # 5-6 lbs / 2-4 kg - 3-3 1/4 hours (3 hrs 15 min) stuffed, 2 - 2 3/4 hours (2 hrs 45 min), unstuffed
  • # 8-11 lbs. / 4-5 kg - 3 1/2 hours (3 hrs 30 min) - 4 hours stuffed, 2 3/4 (2 hrs 45 min) - 3 1/4 hours (3 hrs 15 min) unstuffed
  • # 11-18 lbs. / 5-8 kg - 4- 4 1/2 hours (4 hrs 30 min) stuffed, 3 1/4 hours (3 hrs 15 min) - 3 3/4 hours (3 hrs 45 min) unstuffed
  • # 18-22 lbs. / 8-10 kg - 4 1/2 hours (4 hrs 30 min)- 5 hours stuffed, 3 3/4 hours (3 hrs 45 min) - 4 1/4 hours (4 hrs 15 min) unstuffed
  • # 22-24 lbs. / 10-11kg - 5 1/4 hours (5 hrs 15 min) - 5 3/4 hours (5 hrs 45 min)stuffed, 4 1/4 hours (4 hrs 15 min) - 4 3/4 hours (4 hrs 45 min) unstuffed
  • Getting it into the Oven - the checklist
  • # Wash your hands and the sink
  • # Lower the rack in your oven to the lower third
  • # Preheat oven to 325F (160C)
  • # Get out the paper towels Get out a shallow roasting pan with a rack and set beside the sink (shallow works best. You want to roast the turkey, not steam it)
  • # Get out the salt and pepper
  • # Have the stuffing ready, if you are going to stuff the bird
  • # Get out a knife or scissors
  • # Get out a plastic bag for garbage and have it handy
  • # Wash your hands
  • # Get the turkey out of the fridge
  • # Place in sink
  • # Remove the wrapper and carefully discard the wrapper into the plastic bag that you have handy
  • # Remove the bags of 'goodies' from the large inner cavity and the neck from the smaller neck cavity. Either discard or make a stock out of them. For the stock people you will need a medium saucepan some water, onion, carrot, celery and a clove of garlic. For the non stock people discard the goodies into the plastic bag. Stock people simmer the giblets for at least 4 hours, strain and use for gravy or soup stock
  • # Meanwhile back at the sink: Tip the turkey so if there is any blood it runs into the sink and down the drain
  • # Wipe the inside of the turkey with paper towels, discard
  • # Place the turkey, breast side up on the rack
  • # Wash hands
  • # Stuff it if you're going to
  • # Wash hands
  • # Sprinkle the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper
  • # Place turkey in oven
  • # Wash your hands
  • # Congratulate yourself - you got the bird into the oven
  • # Set timer for two-thirds of the required cooking time and have a drink or a nap whatever works for you
  • # When the timer goes off at the two-thirds mark, wash your hands and take the bird out of the oven and take its temperature. Insert the meat thermometer into the centre of the stuffing.
  • # The temperature needs to read 160F (72C) for it to be cooked. If you didn't stuff the turkey insert the thermometer into the deep thigh avoiding hitting a bone. The temperature needs to be 180F (83C). It won't be that temperature, but your oven could be off, adjust for time.
  • # Basting every hour is a waste of time - it cools down the oven and the bird which will translate into a longer cooking time and it only tenderizes to 1/8-inch. I baste only in the last hour or so
  • # If the turkey is starting to get too brown place a piece of foil loosely over the darkened places
  • # Place the turkey back into the oven
  • # Wash your hands
  • # Is it done? It's all about internal temperatures. Don't be wiggling the legs or cutting into the turkey. You really need that thermometer I keep bringing up.
  • # Wash your hands and take the turkey out of the oven
  • # Insert the thermometer into the centre of the stuffing. It should read either 160F (72C) or 180F (83C) at the deep thigh.
  • # If it's hit those temperatures it's done.
  • # Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and set it on a carving platter
  • # Now its time for some 'turkey time-out'.
  • # Cover the turkey loosely with foil and let sit for 15 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute ensuring that your turkey is juicy and the temperature in the stuffing will rise to 165F (75C) ensuring that its cooked
  • # Wash your hands
  • # Remove foil, remove stuffing and carve.
  • # Serve to applause

Reviews & Comments 4

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  • bigstmpr 3 years ago
    are you on here any more Colette?
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  • newmommy623 9 years ago
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  • newmommy623 9 years ago
    Great recipe....Finally someone has the same knowledge on food safety and handling as I do when family and friends come over they think I'm crazy but don't worry I'll never send my company to the er after eating at my house lol thanx
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    " It was excellent "
    grandmacooks ate it and said...
    Great turkey advice! Especially the wash, wash, wash those hands and any surface that touches the raw poultry, also the thawing directions! I'm so particular with my turkey too!
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