Use this chart for cooking times:
10 to 18 lbs. 3 to 3-1/2 hours (unstuffed), 3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours (stuffed)
18 to 22 lbs. 3-1/2 to 4 hours (unstuffed), 4-1/2 to 5 hours (stuffed)
22 to 24 lbs. 4 to 4-1/2 hours (unstuffed), 5 to 5-1/2 hours (stuffed)
24 to 30 lbs. 4-1/2 to 5 hours (unstuffed), 5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours (stuffed)
When cooking your bird, it’s very important to baste the turkey often to keep it moist. One of the best tips we can offer for a truly rich flavor is to create a cavity between the breast meat an the skin by slipping your fingers under the skin and making a deep pocket. This is a great place to add some dabs of butter, a few leaves of fresh sage and perhaps a few tablespoons of good brandy or Grand Marnier. We also like to put sprigs of fresh rosemary in all the joints, such as between the leg and breast, and under the wings. If you’re not stuffing the bird, don’t hesitate to put things inside it like an apple (peeled and cored), sprigs of fresh herbs and a peeled whole onion. These “perfume” the meat from the inside.
If you want our bird stuffed, for safety we recommend putting the stuffing in that pocket, rather than in the body cavity. Then you can remove the stuffing afterwards in a safe and easy manner, while maintaining health safety. This is a great way to deal with stuffing if you’re making a very large bird and expect lots of leftovers. It isn’t always safe to eat stuffing from a leftover turkey.
We also recommend that you make your own turkey stock (recipes in our Food section) for basting. Make plenty because it doesn’t go to waste and adds lots of flavor to your meal, particularly if you make your turkey gravy from pan drippings (which is the right way to do it).
Before you begin the process of carving the turkey, always let the bird sit on the carving board, or the roasting pan for about 15 to 20 minutes after it comes out of the oven to allow the juices to be absorbed back into the meat. This will ensure a moist, tender meat, not a dry and crumbling one.
Follow the instructions below to cut your turkey safely and correctly. As friends and guests look on in anticipation, carve that picture-perfect turkey like a pro by following these four simple steps from the turkey experts at Butterball.1. Cut band of skin holding drumsticks. Grasp end of drumstick. Place knife between drumstick/thigh and body of the turkey and cut through skin to joint. Remove entire leg by pulling out and back, using the point of the knife to disjoin it. Separate the thigh and drumstick at the joint. Use a very sharp knife with a narrow, thin blade. 2. Insert fork in upper wing to steady turkey. Make a long horizontal cut above wing joint through to body frame. Wing may be disjointed from body, if desired. Use a carving knife, and if needed, a smaller sharp paring knife or other short blade instrument for getting around joints. We do not recommend electric knives for carving turkey on the bone. 3. Slice straight down with an even stroke, beginning halfway up the breast. When knife reaches the cut above the wing joint, slice will fall free. Use a carving knife or ham slice. We’ve found that slicing knives work best for this because their blades are thin and very sharp. 4. Continue to slice breast meat, starting the cut at a higher point each time. When you get down to the bone, it may be necessary to switch to a smaller, sharper carving knife.
Don’t forget to carve one side to the bone before beginning on the other. This will ensure that if you have leftovers, the meat on the carcass remains fresh and moist tomorrow. When storing your leftover turkey, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap after it has cooled sufficiently. Place it in the refrigerator immediately after wrapping.
This year we’ve a new and interesting perspective to add. When buying your turkey, it might be advisable to look for one that has “Certified Antibiotic Free” on the label. These are often organically grown birds, but assure you that you won’t be ingesting antibiotics unnecessarily.
Don’t forget to visit our Food section for great recipes like Stuffings, Gravies, Sauces, Side Dishes and Desserts for your holiday meals.
Happy Holidays to all!