Pastured Turkey Cooking Tips
How Much Turkey to Buy? As a general rule, you will want to purchase 2 lbs of whole turkey per adult if you want leftovers, or 1.5 lbs of whole turkey if you do not want leftovers. Children may eat a little less, of course.
Tip #1: Different parts of the turkey may cook differently.
The ideal final temperature of a cooked turkey is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. To avoid overcooking your turkey, you can take it out when the breast reaches 158-160 Fahrenheit, and carry-over cooking will raise the temperature the last few degrees. If the breast reaches this temperature before the thighs, no problem! Take the turkey out of the oven, carve off the legs and thighs, and put them back in to cook while you carve the breast and make your gravy. If you want to show off the whole bird at once, bring it into the dining room, allow everyone to ooh and aah, then proceed as explained above.
Tip #2: Roast right-side up.
Some ascribe to a method where you start roasting your bird upside down, then flip it over to brown the breast. The idea was that the bird would cook more evenly, and the breast wouldn’t dry out. Pasture-raised turkeys are naturally juicy, so this stunt is actually unnecessary. Just put your KOL Foods turkey in the oven breast-side up like you would a whole chicken, and leave it there until it reaches the right temperature (see #1, above).
Tip #3: Use temperature, not cook time, to determine when your turkey is finished.
Pasture-raised turkeys will cook faster than factory-farmed birds. At 325 degrees, a good approximation is 9-11 minutes per pound for unstuffed turkeys, and 12-15 minutes per pound for stuffed turkeys. That said, the time will vary depending on the turkey and on your oven. Use an internal meat thermometer to know for sure when the bird is cooked - the final temperature should be 165 degrees.
Tip #4: Use a Roasting Pan.
A turkey roasting pan makes all the difference when cooking your Thanksgiving turkey. If you do not yet own one and are considering a disposable aluminum pan, we suggest you think again -- cheap aluminum pans from the grocery store can easily buckle when you remove the bird from the oven, potentially causing injury. If this is your first Thanksgiving turkey and you do not yet own a turkey roasting pan, consider investing in one or borrowing from a friend.
Tip #5: Use your leftovers to make a rich and nutritious stock!