November may have just begun but the way this year is going, Thanksgiving will happen probably tomorrow.

So whether you're having a small gathering, or if you're fighting social distance, here are the proper techniques for cooking a turkey.

If you are cooking a fresh turkey:

Buy your turkey only 1 to 2 days before you plan to cook it.

  • Think 1lb of turkey per person when purchasing.
  • Store the turkey in the fridge.
  • Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak.

If you are buying a frozen turkey:

  • Again, 1lb per person
  • Keep frozen until you are ready to thaw it out

If you're going to thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

  • 4-12 lb turkey should thaw for 1-3 days.
  • 12-16 lbs should thaw for 3-4 days
  • 16-20 lbs should thaw for 4-5 days
  • 20-24 lbs should thaw 5-7 days.

The other option is thawing it in cold water.

  1. Wrap the turkey so no water seeps through the wrapping.
  2. Completely submerge the turkey in cold tap water.
  3. Change the water every 30 minutes.

When placing the turkey in water:

  • 4-12 lb turkey should thaw for 2-6 hours
  • 12-16 lbs should thaw for 6-8 hours
  • 16-20 lbs should thaw for 8-10 hours
  • 20-24 lbs should thaw 10-12 hours

When the turkey has thawed, your oven should be set to 325 degrees. Place the turkey in a shallow roasting pan. The turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.

  • 8-12 lb turkey should cook for 2hours 45 min to 3 hours
  • 12-16 lb turkey should cook for 3 hours to 3 hours 45 min
  • 16-20 lb turkey should cook for 3 hours and 45 minutes to 4 hours 15 minutes
  • 20-24 lb turkey should cook for 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours

Of course, those numbers all change should you choose to stuff your turkey, get those numbers, here.


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