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What size turkey do I purchase?
The larger the bird, the more meat it will yield per pound. Some general rules:
1. A 12 pound turkey should feed about 6 people.
2. A 14 to 20 pound turkey: Calculate 1½ pounds per person
(Example: 10 guests = 15 pound bird)
3. A 20 to 30 pound turkey: Calculate 1¼ pounds per person
(Example: 20 guests = 25 pound bird)
These formulas provide a good amount of leftovers – of course!
How long do I cook the turkey?
Most important is not how long to cook but at what internal temperature to remove it from the oven –170º in the thigh.
Brined turkeys roast mush faster.
After removing the turkey from the oven, let it rest uncovered for at least 30 minutes before carving to allow the juices to evenly distribute throughout the bird.
Some general rules although you always want to you an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature.
Cooking time charts:
But "timing's NOT everything." Recommended cooking techniques must also be followed. A meat thermometer should be used to ensure a sufficient internal temperature has been reached to destroy bacteria and prevent foodborne illness -- as well as to prevent overcooking. Use these charts as guides as all ovens vary a little.