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Old 06-02-2007, 11:51 AM   #1
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Turkey with dressing

As we don't usually cook turkey this part of the world, i have started experimenting with turkes...I cook my fully thawed turkeys with dressing in it at 450 F sealed in aluminum foil. I throw away the timer and I don't open it at all until it's done. I'm trying to develop a simple chart with a sliding scale so can take the turkey weight and cross reference it with the cooking time when I bake it. I usually bake a 20 pounder for 3 1/2 hours and it comes out perfect. I did a 17 pounder once at about 3:06 and it came out perfect. However when I did a 24 pounder at 4 hours (my straight line estimate) that wasn't enough. So maybe a curve would be better than a straight line. However I really don't know. If you have worked out perfect cooking times for various weights of turkey with dressing in it I'd like your input. It doesn't bother me what temperature you do yours (350 F or whatever) as long as you have worked out the perfect time for cooking all your various turkey weights while cooking in a similar manner to the way I do. It would give me useful information that I could work with.


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Old 06-02-2007, 12:07 PM   #2
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In the United States, cooking a turkey is a tradition at Thanksgiving, a holiday we celebrate late in November. Honestly, I've never prepared a turkey. The only advice I can give you is to keep experimenting and you'll find the answer.

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Old 06-02-2007, 12:40 PM   #3
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All I can add is a friend of mine insisted that she cook the turkey at Thanksgiving that I normally cook. It was stuffed (which I never do) and wrapped in foil and also, about 22 - 24 lbs. She told me her mother ALWAYS cooked hers for about 4 hours and it came out perfect every time! Well, I had a houseful of very hungry people by the time that turkey was done. It took about 3 hours longer than she anticipated and I ended up, at one point, yanking all the stuffing out and cooking it separately because it was NOT coming to temperature.

Not that this info helped but it clears up that 4 hours is NOT enough. 7 may have been too much if done at one time but we kept opening the foil to test for doneness.

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Old 06-02-2007, 01:00 PM   #4
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In my part of the world I use a thermometer to check for doneness. 165* in the thickest part of a trukey thigh seems to be about...perfect!

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Old 06-02-2007, 02:24 PM   #5
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What Uncle Bob said. I cook a stuffed turkey--usually 22#--uncovered so it is crisp and golden brown--and it is usually done in 4 hours. It looks like a picture in Bon Appetit.
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Old 06-02-2007, 02:29 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 06-02-2007, 02:32 PM   #7
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I use a basic guide for the size then check at intervals til it is done. Also, I don't roast mine with stuffing inside. We like our stuffing in a casserole and feel it is much safer.
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Old 06-02-2007, 02:53 PM   #8
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There is no reason to re-invent the wheel. There are many tried and true recipes for perfectly roasted turkey on the internet.
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Old 06-02-2007, 04:09 PM   #9
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I'd suggest getting yourself one of those digital thermometers (Polder) that has a timer connected to it. You put the probe in the thick of the thigh, set the controls for 160 degrees F and set the timer part on the counter next to the stove. When your bird reaches the designated temperature, the alarm sounds, and sounds, and sounds, until you take the bird from the oven. You don't have to worry about whether it is up to temp or not, it will be!

Since the turkey will continue to cook for a substantial period of time after it comes out of the oven, I always remove at 160 and leave the probe in as it cools. I get to see how high it actually DOES go (170, generally) and I never have dry breast meat.

OTOH, I never roast a turkey with the dressing inside, and don't recommend it, if only for HACCP reasons.
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Old 06-02-2007, 07:33 PM   #10
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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 !!

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