Turkey is a classic American meal. However, many shy away from roasting a whole turkey, because it seems difficult and complicated. If you follow some easy steps and follow the cooking time guide, you're sure to pull a perfectly roasted turkey out of the oven every single time. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to cook a turkey in a roaster.
- Selecting a turkey Cooking the perfect turkey starts by picking the perfect bird. Inspect the turkey while at the grocery store. The turkey should have broad breasts and creamy, glossy skin, and few or no pinfeathers. It should also have minimal or no bruising. The better condition your turkey is in before the cooking, the better it will taste [source: Haigh].
- Trussing To ensure that your bird cooks evenly throughout, truss the wings and legs close to the body of the bird. Before stuffing the bird, fold the wings into the back of the bird. Secure the wings into place with a sturdy needle and some strong cord. Simply sew one wing to the body, and then bring the cord over the turkey to the other side. Sew the second wing in place. Secure the thighs close to the body by tying the two ends of the string together [source: Haigh].
- Stuffing If you're stuffing your turkey, always fill the cavity of the bird right before you place it in the oven. Stuffing it ahead of time may allow bacteria to grow inside the moist cavity. Make sure not to pack the stuffing too tightly to ensure that it cooks evenly and thoroughly [source: Martha Stewart].
- Roasting Times The time that the turkey stays in the oven depends on the weight of the bird, whether you bought it fresh or frozen, and whether you're roasting it with stuffing. You can find charts with the approximate cooking times online [source: Butterball]. You can check if your turkey's done by checking its temperature with a meat thermometer. Stick the needle in the deepest part of the bird. When the temperature is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) the turkey is safe to eat [source: USDA]. Many people prefer letting the bird cook until the temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius).