First time cooking a Turkey? Need a refresher? Looking for something different? We’ve put together some of our most helpful turkey cooking tips!
1. Turkey Size
Wondering what size turkey you should buy? Use Ace’s Handy Turkey Size Chart to determine turkey size based on the number of people and if you would like leftovers.
2. Thawing a Turkey
There are two safe methods of thawing a turkey:
Fridge Method: (recommended, safest) – Thaw the turkey in the fridge for 1 day per 5 pounds (for example, 3 days for a 15-pound turkey). Once thawed, it’s safe to keep the turkey in the fridge for another two days before cooking. Be sure to put the turkey in a pan (even if it’s still in the package) to catch drippings.
Sink Method: Sanitize the sink. Put the turkey in the sink and fill it up with very cold water. For safety, the water must be changed out every 30 minutes and should always be kept very cold. The turkey must be cooked immediately after thawing.
3. Prepping a Turkey
Before you brine and cook your turkey, it must be prepped. Watch this Turkey Prepping Video or follow these tips:
- Place turkey in a pan
- Remove the netting and packaging
- Remove giblets from the neck area (under flap of skin)
- Remove neck from the cavity
- Trim off neck skin
- Trim off the tail portion
- Rinse well and place back on pan
- Tuck the wing tips under the turkey
4. Brining a Turkey
Brining will give you a more flavorful, juicier turkey. Brining can be done wet or dry.
Wet Brining: Add 2 cups of kosher salt to 2 gallons of cold water in a large pot. Place the turkey in the pot and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Rinse with cold water and pat dry.
Dry Brining: Place turkey on a baking sheet. Rub/press 3+ tablespoons of kosher salt into the turkey, adding some to the cavity. You may want to peel back the skin and place some of the salt underneath. Cover the turkey with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 12-24 hours, removing the plastic wrap for the last 2 hours.
Optional: add herbs and spices to wet and dry brines such as bay leaf, pepper, mustard, allspice, brown sugar, cinnamon, basil, garlic, sage, rosemary.
5. Cooking a Turkey
There are several options when it comes to cooking Turkey. Whether you’re cooking it in the Oven, Weber, Traeger, or Big Green Egg, use this helpful Turkey Cooking Time Chart for optimal cooking time. Note that the chart is for unstuffed turkey. Stuffed turkey will take about 1/2 hour longer.
Tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips under. Make sure the turkey’s internal temperature at the thickest part gets up to 165 degrees.
Oven Cooking: Place the turkey in a roasting pan. Drizzle the outside of the turkey with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Follow the turkey cooking chart above. Transfer the turkey to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Grill Cooking: see these videos for your specific type of grill!
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