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Turkey the Old-Fashioned Way

There are many delicious ways to prepare and serve turkey. It might be deep-fried, brined, poached, grilled.to mention just a few methods of preparation. This article, however, will focus strictly on tips and techniques for preparing perfect turkey the old-fashioned way - oven roasted. Basic Technique for Roasting a Turkey.

1. The safest method for thawing a frozen turkey is by allowing the turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. Be certain to plan ahead.it will take approximately 3 days for a 20 pound turkey to defrost.

2. Everyone wants to prepare enough turkey for the number of guests they serve, and generally desire to have some turkey left over. To determine the correct turkey size that will be needed, see the section below entitled 'How Much Turkey is Enough?'

3. Cooking time will differ depending on whether the turkey was purchased fresh or frozen. Calculate approximate cooking time in a 350F (175C) oven based on the following: 20 minutes per pound for a defrosted turkey, and 10 to 15 minutes per pound for fresh.

4. A turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. As an alternative, flavor may be added by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables and/or fruit -- carrots, celery, onions, apples, oranges, kumquats or garlic. Carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin will also add flavor.

5. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with vegetable or olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

6. For even roasting, it is best to truss the turkey, and especially so if roasting stuffed poultry. (See 'How to Truss a Turkey' below.)

7. Set the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan to promote maximum air and heat circulation and to ensure that it cooks evenly. To yield moister, juicier white meat, place the turkey 'breast-down' on the rack. This technique will prevent the turkey breast from overcooking and becoming dry.

8. Set the roasting pan on the lowest rack of the oven to keep the turkey away from the top, which is the hottest part of the oven.

9. Once the turkey is cooking in the oven, resist the temptation to 'peek' inside by opening the oven door. Opening and closing the oven door will cause the temperature to fluctuate, which will only increase the likelihood of a dry turkey. Avoid opening the oven door until approximately 45 minutes before the turkey expected to be done.


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