Organic Turkey: Cook It Your Way! (Part 1)
No matter how you cook your organic turkey, use a food thermometer to ensure the bird and stuffing reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, you may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.
These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer.
Approximate Whole-Turkey Cooking Times (Fresh or Thawed in a Preheated 325°F Oven)
- · 8 to 12 pounds: 2¾ to 3 hours (unstuffed), 3 to 3½ hours (stuffed)
- · 12 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3¾ hours (unstuffed), 3½ to 4 hours (stuffed)
- · 14 to 18 pounds: 3¾ to 4¼ hours (unstuffed), 4 to 4¼ hours (stuffed)
- · 18 to 20 pounds: 4¼ to 4½ hours (unstuffed), 4¼ to 4¾ hours (stuffed)
- · 20 to 24 pounds: 4½ to 5 hours (unstuffed), 4¾ to 5¼ hours (stuffed)
Organic Turkey: Cook It Your Way! (Part 2)
Grilling a Turkey
Grilling a big bird for the holiday meal has become a popular cooking method. During grilling, a turkey cooks by indirect heat in an outdoor covered gas or charcoal grill, and a pan of water is placed beneath the grilling surface to catch the fat and juices that drip from the turkey as it cooks. The hot, smoky, steamy air cooks the bird.
Turkeys 16 pounds or smaller are the recommended size for safe grilling. A larger turkey remains in the “danger zone”—between 40°F and 140°F— for too long. Do not stuff the turkey. Because cooking occurs at a low temperature, it can take too long for the stuffing to reach 165°F. Also, smoked stuffing has an undesirable flavor.
Electric Roaster Oven
Generally, the cooking time and oven temperature setting are the same as for conventional cooking. Preheat the oven to at least 325°F. Place the turkey on the roaster oven rack or other meat rack so the turkey is raised out of the juices that collect in the bottom of the oven liner. Leave the lid on throughout cooking, removing it as little as possible to avoid slowing the cooking process. Always check the roaster oven’s use and care manual for the manufacturer’s recommended temperature setting and time.
More Ways to Cook a Turkey
Deep-fat frying, smoking, using an oven cooking bag, roasting in aluminum foil, microwaving, using a pressure cooker and cooking a frozen turkey without thawing it are other ways to get the big bird done.
Cook sausage meat until lightly browned. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until onion is transparent. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Combine with remaining ingredients.
Stuff and bake according to size of bird.
½ lb sausage meat
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped onion
8 cups dry bread cubes
1 cup sliced dried apricots
1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
¼ tsp. Nutmeg
1 cup chicken broth
Cranberry/Wild Rice Stuffing
Dissolve the chicken bouillon cubes in 2 cups of water. Add the wild rice and raisins. Cook over medium to low heat for 1 hour, or until the rice is tender. (Drain, if necessary)
Saute the onions and celery in the oil until tender. Add this to the cooked rice along with the cranberries, orange rind and thyme.This may be stuffed into a small 3.5-4.5kg (8-10 lb)turkey. To cook seperately, place in a greased casserole pan and bake, covered, at 350 for about 30 minutes.
1 cup uncooked wild rice
2 cups water
2 bouillon cubes
½ cup raisins
2 Tbsp. oil
10 chopped green onions
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tsps. Grated orange rind
1 tsp dried thyme or rosemary