By Faith Peppers
University of Georgia
“Over the years people have come up with all types of strange tactics they think will make a better turkey, like cooking it in a brown paper bag,” said University of Georgia Cooperative Extension food safety expert Judy Harrison. “We don’t recommend it.”
She offers these tips for oven roasting:
RoastedMany factors can affect the roasting time of a whole turkey, she said. For example, a turkey in a dark roasting pan with a lid or in a cooking bag will cook faster. A foil tent over the turkey can slow cooking.
In general, an unstuffed turkey weighing between 14 pounds to 18 pounds takes 3 and three-quarters hours to 4 and a quarter hours to cook. One weighing 20 pounds to 24 pounds, unstuffed, takes as long as 5 hours.
A stuffed turkey that weighs between 14 pounds and 18 pounds takes about 4 hours to cook. One weighing between 18 pounds and 20 pounds takes 45 minutes longer.
It’s OK to cook a frozen turkey, but it takes at least 50 percent longer to cook than a thawed one.
“For optimum safety, we don’t recommend stuffing a turkey,” she said. “For more even cooking, we recommend you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole dish. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 F.”
For more cooking methods, contact the local UGA Extension office at 1-800-Ask-UGA1. Or, call the federal Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854.
(Faith Peppers is a news editor for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
(Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)