Commissary Highlights 1978 - 1985


Turkey Roasting Guide


Preparing the Bird:

Thaw frozen turkey in its original wrap. Place bird on a tray and thaw in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Or, place frozen turkey (in original wrap or in plastic bag ) in a sink or deep pan filled with cold water. Allow up to 6 to 8 hours thawing time for large turkeys. Change the water often (warm water raises the outside temperature of the bird too quickly and can cause bacterial growth).

After thawing, remove the wrappings. Free legs and tail. Remove giblets from body cavity. Also, remove neck piece tucked inside neck cavity. Rinse turkey in cold running water and pat dry with paper toweling. Season body cavity with salt, if desired. Do not stuff turkey until just before cooking. If you want to make the stuffing ahead of time, chill it separately.

Microwave thawing:

For faster defrosting, you can micro-thaw a whole turkey up to 10 pounds. Leave bird in its original wrap, but remove any metal fastener. Place turkey, breast up, in a shallow nonmetal baking dish. Thaw, uncovered, in a countertop microwave oven on medium-low power for 30 minutes; let stand 5 minutes. Give bird a quarter turn. Repeat as often as necessary (10 minutes per pound). If foil can be used in your oven (check your owner’s manual), cover parts that begin to brown with small pieces of foil. Let stand 30 minutes before roasting.

Stuffing the Bird:

Spoon some stuffing loosely into neck cavity; pull neck skin over stuffing and fasten securely to back of bird with a small skewer. Place turkey, neck down, in a large mixing bowl or sink. Lightly spoon more stuffing into the body cavity. Holding turkey by its legs, gently shake down the stuffing. Do not pack stuffing in tightly or it will become too compact to heat through properly. If turkey has a band of skin across the tail, tuck drumsticks under band to hold them in place. Otherwise, tie legs securely to tail. Twist tips of wings under back.

For unstuffed turkey, place quartered onions and celery in body cavity.

Roasting the Bird:

To roast a whole turkey: Preheat oven to 325. Place thawed turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Use an adjustable or flat rack that holds the entire bird off the bottom of the pan. Brush bird with cooking oil or melted butter or margarine. If meat thermometer is used, insert in center of inside thigh muscle, making sure bulb does not touch bone. (The thermometer is placed here because the thigh area requires the longest cooking time.) Cover loosely with a foil “cap,” barely touching bird. Press lightly at ends of drumsticks and neck. Baste dry areas of skin occasionally with pan drippings, cooking oil, or melted butter during roasting.

When the turkey is two-thirds done, cut the band of skin or string between legs so heat can reach inside of thighs. About 45 minutes before turkey is done, remove foil cap to assure even browning. Roast till thermometer registers 185. Also, test the thickest part of the drumstick. It should be very soft and should move up and down and twist easily in the socket.

Remove from oven; cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Let stand 15 minutes to make carving easier.

“Happy Thanksgiving from the Commissary Department”

Marilyn Townsend