turkey tips

Want a juicy, moist turkey? here are my best tips for just that result:

How large a turkey should I purchase?

Allow 1 pound per person, for an average serving, or 1-1/2 pounds per person if you want leftovers.

What’s the deal with brining? Brining will give you moist, juicy meat!


  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 gallon water
  • I start with 1 quart hot water to dissolve salt (and sugar if used), then add 3 quarts cold water and ice to cool the mixture.
  • optional ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (or less) per gallon of water
  • minced garlic
  • bay leaf
  • pepper
  • hot peppers or hot pepper sauce

Be sure to refrigerate during allotted time. A great way to accomplish this is to brine your turkey in a picnic cooler. Place the turkey in the cooler, add brine to cover it, then place a large zip-top back of ice on top to weight the turkey down. Check every few hours to be sure ice is still frozen, and replace ice if necessary. Brining time: 1 hour per pound.

After removing from brine, pat the turkey dry. Brining may be accomplished early, meat removed from brine, dried and returned to refrigerator until 20-30 minutes prior to cooking time. Be sure to dry your turkey before putting it into the oven to ensure browning.

How long to cook it?

Don’t overcook the bird! For an unstuffed turkey:

8-12 pounds                               1-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours

12-16 pounds                           3-1/2 to 4 hours

16-20 pounds                           4 to 4-1/2 hours

20-26 pounds                           4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours

add 20 to 40 minutes for a stuffed turkey.

And, how do I tell if it is done?

Insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. Your turkey is done when it registers 170 degrees F.   Stuffing should be 165 degrees F.

Be sure to let the turkey rest at least 15 minutes, under a foil tent, before carving it.

Happy Thanksgiving!


turkey tips — 1 Comment

  1. My bird was brined according to the master recipe along with some candied ginger and herbs I steeped in apple juice before adding to the brine. About 4 qrts.
    Came out juicy and wonderful. I also put apples along with the herbs, onion, celery, and seasonings inside the bird. YUM! Fantastic gravy!!!

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