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Defrosting & Roasting Chart:
Estimate ~ 1/2 hour per pound in the refrigerator*
At 325o, 20 - 25 minutes per pound
At 325o, 15 - 20 minutes per pound
* With the uprising of salmonella etc. from poultry, the old recommended method of either leaving the turkey on the counter to defrost, or defrosting in a pan of hot water is not a safe way of defrosting. Plan your "turkey time" well in advance so you will have time to let the turkey defrost in the refrigerator. (I remember that ol' humongous frozen turkey... I had to take it out of the freezer on a Monday to cook it on a Saturday ;-) )
Notes on a perfect turkey:
- Always stuff your turkey just before roasting and if you are using a cooked stuffing make sure that it is cool.
- The secret to success is slow cooking and basting, basting, basting! I baste every 15 - 20 minutes. This will result in a golden bird. To start the basting process off (since you have no pan drippings yet), prepare a mixture of melted butter (or margarine) and some chicken stock. Use this for the first few bastings until the drippings drip.
- Cook the turkey under a loose tent of foil for the first few hours. This will keep the breast meat from getting too dried out. Remove the tent for the last 1-1/2 hour of cooking.
- Use an instant meat thermometer to check if the turkey is done. It should register 180-185 when inserted into the meatiest part of the thigh, and when pulled out the juices should run clear.
- And finally , 2 no-no's - never cook a turkey overnight at very low temperatures and never partially cook a turkey one day to finish the next.
A word on stuffing: Don't have time to prepare stuffing - the packaged ones do quite nicely. They are flavorful and fast and easy!Cornbread Stuffing
Wild Rice Stuffing
Apricot Walnut Stuffing