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Thanksgiving Turkey Tips

November 24, 2019

Whether you're tackling a Thanksgiving turkey for the first or hundredth time, our top tips will ensure your big bird is the best it can be. Adapted from

1. Thawing a frozen turkey requires patience. The safest method is to thaw turkey in the refrigerator. Be sure to plan ahead — it takes approximately 4-5 days for a 20-pound turkey to fully defrost.

2. For crisper skin, unwrap the turkey the day before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure it is fully defrosted before cooking.

3. Plan on 8-10 minutes per pound in a 325 degree F oven for a defrosted turkey. Store bought turkeys take more like 12-15 minutes per pound because of added solutions. This is just a recommendation as all cook times will vary. Ours tend to cook pretty quickly.

4. A turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. Consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables or by carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin.

5. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with your favorite oil or butter, season with salt and pepper and tightly cover the breast with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning (remove in step 7).

6. Don't be a peeping Tom (pun intended)! Once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door and admire your handiwork. When the oven temperature fluctuates, you're only increasing the likelihood of a dry bird. About 45 minutes before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil from the breast to allow it to brown. I have found that pastured turkeys tend to cook faster.

7. Remove the turkey from the oven and use an instant-read thermometer to determine temperature; it should read 165 degrees F at the thigh when it's done. We use a digital thermometer with a monitor outside the oven that we can keep an eye on. If you stuff your turkey, check the internal temperature of the stuffing as well; it should be at least 165 degrees.

8. Tent the bird with foil and let rest for about 25 minutes or up to an hour before carving.

9. Remember to carve your turkey with a very sharp or electric knife.

Read more at:

Another method I like is starting the turkey in high heat for the first 20 minutes then lowering the temp for the rest of the time. Here is a link to an old NY Times article on that method:

Thank you for purchasing your turkey from us! We would love your feedback - tag us in your beautifully cooked turkey pictures on Facebook & Instagram @riemerfamilyfarm. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jen & Bryce Riemer

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