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Turkey 101

The cranberry sauce is cooling, the silverware is polished.  The doorbell chimes with the arrival of guests.  Thanksgiving is well underway but you cannot shake the perfect bird jitters. . .what temperature does Turkey need to cook through to be juicy and done?  Let’s not wait to the last minute for understanding the basics for a healthy and safe holiday occasion.  We put compiled some quick reference notes that may come in handy on Turkey Day.

No matter fresh or frozen, plan for 1 pound of Turkey meat per guest.  And round up a little, because leftovers are better.  Buy a fresh Turkey no sooner than 3 days before cooking it.  A frozen turkey is good, indefinitely, so long as it remains frozen, but remember to thaw it before cooking: a day in the refrigerator for every 4 Lbs.  UNLESS your frozen turkey is STUFFED, because you cannot thaw it.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 325.  Place the Turkey in a shallow roasting pan with a ½ Cup of water.  Cover with aluminum foil for the first hour to ensure even heating and reduce splatter.
  • The necessary temperature for the bird (and stuffing) is 165.  If there is any doubt check the temperature in the inner thigh.
Unstuffed
4 to 8 pounds (breast) | 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds | 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds | 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds | 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds | 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds| 4½ to 5 hours

Stuffed
6 to 8 pounds (breast) | 2½ to 3½ hours
8 to 12 pounds | 3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds | 3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds | 4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds | 4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds | 4¾ to 5¼ hours
   *Source USDA
For more questions call the USDA Poultry and Meat Hotline 1-888-MPHotline

Of course another option is let Sickles Market take care of you and your guests with our delicious catering here  We feature everything from a full menu cooked to ala carte options to round out your table, without the stress.  No matter what occasion you are celebrating Sickles Catering is always the safest and easiest way to bring people together around good food.    

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