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Old 06-02-2007, 07:42 PM   #11
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Be quiet, Barbara. Thanksgiving and Christmas are waaaay too close.

I've NEVER cooked a turkey that wasn't stuffed and I've probably cooked close to 150 turkeys in my cooking life.

Most of the time I cook about a 15- to 20-pound turkey for the two of us. The largest one I ever cooked was 33 pounds, unstuffed. That's when all 5 of the children were living at home.

My smaller ones take from 4 to 6 hours to cook. I usually put them in the oven about noon and expect to serve dinner at 6 p.m. or so.

I start the roasting at a high temperature and, then, reduce the temp for the bulk of the cooking time.

"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 06-02-2007, 08:48 PM   #12
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Between this thread and my youngest daughter who told me this morning that they were roasting a turkey just to have for sandwiches; guess who had to thaw a turkey and roast it today? LOL! I did make dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy too. I think I prefer to have turkey at other times of the year instead of holidays.

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Old 06-03-2007, 03:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by gonefishing
...I cook my fully thawed turkeys with dressing in it at 450 F sealed in aluminum foil. ...
450 F??? wow!!!

i cook mine at around 325 F or so (i'm on centigrade here in japan).

i always stuff my turkeys. in order to keep the breasts from drying out by the time the thighs are done, i cover them with strips of bacon and cover those with a double layer of aluminum foil. about 1 or 1 1/2 hours down the line, i remove the aluminum foil, and then an hour or so later remove the bacon. i use a meat thermometer to make sure it's up to temp. seems to work well for me.
let me make sure that wine's ok before i use it.
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Old 06-03-2007, 04:00 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Barb L.
Did you all know there is more meat on two 12 lb. turkeys than a 24 lb. one! A lady use to raise turkeys told me this. The larger birds just get a larger Carcass ! Told my brother this, because he always cooks for 25 during the holidays, now he always does two - One in the oven and one deep fried at times. !! LOL, 6 mos. is Thanksgiving !!
as if we weren't busy enough on turkey day, maybe next nov. we could all post our prestuffed turkey's weight, and the left over carcass's weight.

anyone good at math??
let me make sure that wine's ok before i use it.
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Old 06-03-2007, 04:32 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
Don't know where you live ... you didn't include that in your User Profile when you signed up ...

The short answer is ... there are variables - that is why you need a thermometer. Try looking around the Butterball Turkey site. They have some cooking time guidelines.

The reason there is no absolute answer for "it takes x minutes to cook an x lb turkey at x degrees" is because not all turkeys are the same density (the density is why the white meat and the dark meat cook at different rates) nor are they equally symmetrical - the breast of one bird can be thicker than that of another although they are the same weight. And, when you stuff them ... there is the problem of the density and moisture content of the stuffing - you've converted a non-symmetrical hollow tube into a non-symmetrical solid cylinder where the densitiy of the "core" will vary depending on ingredients and compaction.

If you can find a copy of Harold McGee's "The Curious Cook" you might get a better understanding of why there is no linear chart of absolute times. I'm sorry - I'm in the process of moving and my copy is already packed away or I could tell you which chapter to read. Although he was not dealing with hollow foods (he was working with solids) it will give you an insight into the complexities of creating a table like you are looking for.

Thanks michael.. i am from Singapore (if you've caught pirates of the caribbean- you would have heard of this island state)
Appreciate the HELP! thanks!!
-----Love Cookin'-------
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Old 06-03-2007, 08:55 AM   #16
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I don't know about over in Singapore, but here, there's usually a time/temperature chart for a given weight, on the package.

I usually go by the 20 minutes / pound @ 350 degrees F "rule of thumb". Using my formula, a 20 lb bird should take 400 minutes, or 6 hrs 40 minutes.

Now, I usually start checking the temperature of my bird one to two hours before it's done, to get an idea of how close to done it is. I'm glad I do this, as last thankgiving, my bird was done an hour before I thought it would be. I may have to lower the temp to 325 degrees F, or shorten the time / pound.
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:40 AM   #17
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My husband is big on meat thermometers, but I cooked without one for so many years, I don't usually need one. My grandma always said the turkey or chicken is done when you can wiggle the thigh easily. I've read since that the turkey's overdone when it reaches that point, but I haven't found that to be true.
My method for cooking a turkey came from my first MIL. It's unconventional, but works well. I cook the turkey breast side down, so the juices from the back will drip down and baste the breast. I set the temp at 325 F and cover the bird with foil until it's almost done, then turn the temp up to 425 F, flip the bird, and cook it uncovered for about 15 minutes to brown the breast.
When I take it out of the oven, I cover the bird loosely with the foil and let it stand while I make the gravy.
I always cook the dressing (stuffing) separately, uncovered, as I like it to have a crisp crust on the outside, and be moist on the inside. Since I make it the night before, I start it out at 350 to warm it through without burning it, then raise the temp to 400 to crisp it up.
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Old 06-03-2007, 01:36 PM   #18
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I normally stuff all my turkeys, I usually select a bird of around 15 pounds, I always use a Reynolds cooking bag, and I have two probe thermometers; one for the turkey's thigh and one for the stuffing, for safety's sake. The turkey stays in the oven until the thigh is at least 165F and the stuffing is 180F.

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