Poultry and Turkey

Poultry is an excellent source of protein with a low fat content, so it’s not surprising that it’s often recommended as a great alternative to red meat. If red meat isn’t your thing, there are lots of poultry and turkey recipes out there that you can try such as my Buttery Herb and Garlic Roast Turkey Breast or my Oven Baked Turkey Stuffing!

And even if you’re partial to both meats, it’s always good to have a healthy balance as red meat can err a little too high on the saturated fat side of things.

What is in Poultry Seasoning?

Poultry seasoning is used to enhance the flavor of poultry and uses a blend of spices that can be made with just a few ingredients in minutes! One of the most popular brands of poultry seasoning is McCormicks, which is made up of sage, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, and black pepper. You can use these spices in your own recipes or try other blends including celery salt, celery seed, and ground cloves. There really aren’t any rules regarding which spices you use for your seasoning so it’s totally up to you!

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What Temperature Should Poultry be Cooked to?

Poultry should be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and you can check this using an instant-read or meat thermometer which should be inserted into the thickest part of the thigh if you’re cooking a whole bird. This is also the safest temperature for dark meat. Always refer to this safe cooking guide for current safe temperatures.

How Long to Cook a Turkey?

The easiest way to figure out how long to cook your turkey (un-stuffed) is to work it out at 13 minutes per pound when cooked at 350 F. So that’s about 3 hours for a 12-14 pound turkey. You’ll need to add another hour on average if the turkey is stuffed. The minimum internal temperature of the turkey should be 165 F and you can check this by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh or breast.

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How Long to Thaw a Turkey?

There are two ways to thaw a turkey: cold water thawing or thawing in a refrigerator. The refrigerator method is more advisable as your turkey will last longer once defrosted (whereas turkey that is cold-watered thawed must be eaten right away). This method does take a lot of time though, so you’ll need to get started a few days in advance of when you want it to be ready to eat. You’ll need 24 hours of thawing time per 4-5 pounds of turkey, so a large 20 pound turkey will take about 5 days to properly thaw in the refrigerator.

If you opt for cold water thawing, it’s a lot faster but don’t forget that the turkey must be consumed immediately after it’s thawed, which isn’t always convenient! First, make sure your turkey is tightly wrapped in plastic with no tears or holes. Then fill your sink or a large bucket with cold tap water, submerge the wrapped turkey, and change the water every 30 minutes as it sits. How long it takes really depends on the size; USDA guidelines state that you should give 30 minutes of soak time for every pound of turkey.

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