Old fashioned Thanksgiving Cooking

Roast Turkey
When buying turkeys under 12 pounds, allow 3/4 to 1 pound per serving. For heavier birds, 12 pounds and over, allow 1/2 to 3/4 pound per serving.

Wash turkey and pat dry. If desired, rub cavity lightly with salt. Do not salt cavity if turkey is to be stuffed.

Stuff turkey just before roasting-not ahead of time. Fill wishbone area with stuffing first. Fasten neck skin to back with skewer. Fold wings across back with tips touching. Fill body cavity lightly. (Do not pack stuffing. It will expand while cooking.) Tuck drumsticks under band of skin at tail or tie together with heavy string, and then tie to tail.

Heat oven to 325º. Place turkey breast side up on rack in open shallow roasting pan. Brush with shortening, oil or butter. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of inside thigh muscle or thickest part of breast meat and does not touch bone. Do not add water. Do not cover.

Follow Timetable for approximate total cooking time. Place a tent of aluminum foil loosely over turkey when it starts to turn golden. When 2/3 done, cut band of skin or string holding legs.

TIMETABLE FOR ROASTING TURKEY:
(Ready-to-cook weight)
6 to 8 pounds
8 to 12 pounds
12 to 16 pounds
16 to 20 pounds
20 to 24 pounds
(Approximate total cooking time)
3 to 3.5 hours
3.5 to 4.5 hours
4.5 to 5.5 hours
5.5 to 6.5 hours
6.5 to 7 hours
(Internal temperature)
185º
185º
185º
185º
185º
(This timetable is based on a chilled or completely thawed turkey at a temperature of about 40º and placed in a pre-heated oven. Time is slightly less for un-stuffed turkey. Differences in the shape and tenderness of individual turkeys can also necessitate increasing or decreasing the cooking time slightly. For best results, use a meat thermometer.)

There is no substitute for a meat thermometer for determining the doneness of a turkey. Placed in the thigh muscle, it should register 185º when the turkey is done. If the bird is stuffed, the point of the thermometer can be placed in the center of the stuffing and will register 165º when done.

When turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand about 20 minutes for easiest carving. As soon as possible after serving, remove every bit of stuffing from turkey. Cool stuffing, meat and any gravy promptly; refrigerate separately. Use gravy or stuffing within 1 or 2 days; heat them thoroughly before serving. Serve the cooked turkey meat within 2 or 3 days after roasting. If frozen, it can be kept up to 1 month.

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