Turkey Talk

As we start to prep for the heartiest meal of the year, usually consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, veggies, and pumpkin pie, we thought it would be a great time to go over the basics of enjoying a safe Thanksgiving Day.

Starting with turkey prep safety.  If you ask just about any 5 year old they will tell you that it can take around 1 to 2 hours to thaw out a turkey and another 16 hours to cook it.  Probably not great advice.  USDA.org has all the proper steps to take and detailed information on turkey safety.  But the gist is, you should be well prepared ahead of Thanksgiving Day in your thawing.  When thawing a turkey in the refrigerator, allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below. Be sure to place the turkey in a container to prevent the juices from dripping on other foods.

Here’s a quick break down to help you out.  Refrigerator Thawing Times Whole turkey:

4 to 12 pounds — 1 to 3 days

12 to 16 pounds — 3 to 4 days

16 to 20 pounds — 4 to 5 days

20 to 24 pounds —5 to 6 days

Remember too that a thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking.

When it comes to cooking your turkey to perfection, a food thermometer is essential!  You need a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F to insure the temp has been reached to destroy bacteria and prevent foodborne illness.  Because nothing ruins a holiday like food poison.

The most traditional way of cooking your bird is to put it in the oven.  Again USDA.org has all the details of cooking times but a here is a quick reference. Approximate cooking times for your turkey in a 325 °F oven temperature oven

UNSTUFFED (time in hours)

4 to 6 lb. breast — 1 1/2 to 2 1/4

6 to 8 lb. breast — 2 1/4 to 3 1/4

8 to 12 lbs. — 2 3/4 to 3

12 to 14 lbs. — 3 to 3 3/4

14 to 18 lbs. — 3 3/4 to 4 1/4

18 to 20 lbs. — 4 1/4 to 4 1/2

20 to 24 lbs. — 4 1/2 to 5


STUFFED (time in hours)

8 to 12 lbs. — 3 to 3 1/2

12 to 14 lbs. — 3 1/2 to 4

14 to 18 lbs. — 4 to 4 1/4

18 to 20 lbs. — 4 1/4 to 4 3/4

20 to 24 lbs. — 4 3/4 to 5 ¼

Now if you are going a more non-traditional route of cooking your turkey, we suggest you take a look again at the USDA.org website where they have safe procedures of cooking your turkey by means of Electric Roaster Oven, Grilling a Turkey, Covered Gas Grill, Covered Charcoal Grill, Smoking a Turkey, Deep Fat Frying a Turkey, Cooking an Unstuffed Turkey from the Frozen State, Microwaving a Turkey, Cooking Turkey in a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooking a Cut-up Turkey

Who knew there were so many possibilities?  No matter your method of cooking up your Thanksgiving turkey and all the other fixin’s, Aschoff Construction would like to say Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Eating!  Gobble Gobble til’ you Wobble Wobble!

Posted on: Thursday, November 16, 2017