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Roasting Turkey

Everyday Food, Volume 7 November 2003

Follow these few smart, simple steps to ensure a delicious Thanksgiving meal for your family and guests.

Thawing Frozen Turkey
Thawing in refrigerator is best; place turkey (still in wrapper), breast side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Allow one day for every 4 pounds of turkey.

Handling Raw Turkey
Use a separate cutting board for raw poultry to avoid contaminating other ingredients. Wash board, utensils, and your hands with hot, soapy water immediately after coming into contact with the turkey. Before cooking, rinse the bird inside and out with cold water; pat dry with paper (not cloth) towels.

Cooking Turkey
When bird is done, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast should register 170 degrees, and thigh juices should run clear when pierced. (When cooked in cavity of bird, stuffing should reach 165 degrees.) Start checking thirty minutes before end of cooking time; plan on fifteen minutes per pound of unstuffed bird. Let rest 30 minutes before carving to allow juices to be reabsorbed.

Storing Leftovers
Cooked turkey should be cool before being wrapped in plastic or stored in an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Helpful Tools
Tie turkey legs with kitchen twine; use a baster instead of a brush to coat the bird with the pan juices.