Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

Turkey Preparation Guidelines, Cooking Tips & Extra Suggestions

Posted by Shana Meshbesher on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 @ 05:28 PM

Turkey Tips-Photo.jpg


Adapted from:

Check out
TIPS FROM CARLOS on our recipe blog for even more great tips
and his spin on a super easy Fennel Spice Rub Turkey Recipe!

Turkey Tips-Cooking Times


It’s strongly recommended to thaw turkeys in refrigerator to avoid bacteria that occurs from room-temp. thawing. Whether choosing a fresh or frozen turkey, keep wrapped & place on pan, on lowest shelf in refrigerator to prevent cross contamination. The giblets & neck, customarily packed in neck & body cavities of frozen turkeys, may be removed from bird near end of thawing period & utilized for use in giblet gravy!

Go to link above for recipe ideas if utilizing fresh/dried herb rub or brine & reserve 12-24 additional hrs. for this process.


-Remove the giblets from turkey cavities after thawing. Cook separately if making gravy with giblets.

-Prep turkey by applying herb rub or soaking in brine. Brining does take 12-24 additional hrs.*

-Place turkey on lower rack in a shallow roasting pan.

-For even cooking, bake stuffing in separate casserole dish, versus inside turkey. Use food thermometer to check internal temperature of stuffing. Stuffing’s center should reach 165°F.

-Oven temp. should not go lower than 325°F. Whole turkeys should be cooked to internal temp. of 180°F. To check for doneness, insert food thermometer in thickest part of inner thigh without touching bone.

-Place turkey breast-side up on rack in roasting pan, although note you can roast breast-side down, at higher temp. for first 1-2 hrs. to ensure more brown skin on underside & more distributed moisture. Silicone oven mitts work well for this process.

-Cover tightly with foil as this slows cooking process so white & dark meats cook at same rate.

-Baste every 1⁄2 hour, adding more hot water to pan if drippings evaporate. For last 45 mins., increase heat to 400°, remove foil & baste every 10-15 mins.

-Tent turkey with foil & let rest 20-30 mins. before carving, which allows juices to set & turkey carves more easily. Reserve pan drippings for gravy (optional).


-*Brining yields moist & flavorful turkey. Although, be sure to reserve refrigerator space for a 5-gallon bucket or cooler that can accommodate turkey while sitting for 12-24 hrs. 

-VFC has jars of turkey brine spices, containers of crispy onions, canned green beans, along with organic & fresh cranberries, herbs & anything else needed for holiday meals.

-VFC has gluten-free stuffing, dairy-free options, etc. & is able to accommodate those with dietary restrictions. Call ahead to ensure availability!

Tags: Recipes, DIY, Turkey