Fresh turkey help

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Assistant Cook
Nov 8, 2004
I have a hard time cooking fresh turkey properly. Last year, it took up to an extra 2 hours to cook the turkey and still at the underside was undercooked, even though I read the internal leg temp at 185 (unstuffed).

How do you get a 25 pound fresh turkey to cook evenly?


Chef Extraordinaire
Mar 1, 2002
Boston and Cape Cod
MEAT THERMOMETER. That's the most reliable way to know if your bird is done or not. Cheap and you'll use it all the time.

Take the bird out of the fridge for maybe 45 min to an hour before you cook it. You don't want to throw a cold bird in the oven. This is a good way to air-dry it, too, which helps make for crispy skin.

There are a million theories on how to cook a turkey. The basic butterball info given by deb is great and will work.

But you might want to consider starting the turkey on its breast and then flipping it over. This helps to make for juicey breast meat. Also, your oven is hotter at the back than it is in the front, so turning the turkey from left to right at least once during cooking is a good idea, too.

Alton Brown's roast turkey recipe is foolproof and fantastic.. He brines it. Cooks at 450 for a while and turns down the heat. Even if you dont brine, the high heat initial cooking method is a very good one. Recipe on


Washing Up
Jun 26, 2004
Perhaps the advice on taking the bird from the fridge and "warming it" should be expanded on...

We want the whole carcass to be at a consistent temperature, so it heats and cooks predictably and correctly...and I'd suggest longer than an hour, though you'll want to cover it!

The advice that jennyma gives on a meat thermometer is spot on the money! Relatively cheap to buy, this is the handiest kitchen tool I own...I'll get rid of my Chef's knife before I lose this! Your meat probe can be used to test the breast, thigh and stuffing temp's and tells absolutely when you are done...

Note that when you remove the bird from the oven, leaving it stand, tented in foil, will allow the temp's to increase ten degrees you take it out with the breast about 150-155, and so on...otherwise, it'll be dry...

I've written elsewhere about "flipping the bird" and relatively easy ways to do so...I'd recommend about 90 minutes of brest down cooking, then the "flip"...I use big skewers to suspend the bird over the (greased) pan, so the bird is not stuck to the pan (use little skewers to jeep the stuffing in!), so I can grab one skewer in my oven-mittenned hands, and quickly flip it end to end, dropping it back onto the roasting pan rim...this technique cooks the dark meat faster (which it needs to be so the white doesn't dry out) is necessary to flip the breast back up with adequate cooking time remaining for it to brown...other wise its that flaccid white, that you DON'T want...

Do have fun with this, pooch, and remember that a "juicy" bird is not an undercooked bird...a dry bird is an overcooked one...and if you use the brining, or "beercanning" (in Audeo's description, "tamponing"...sheesh those Texians!) it will be even juicier (but stuffing on the side, only!)

Lets all know how it comes out for you!

Best Regards


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