Self-basting turkeys are injected with butter or oil.

©David Lat

Turkey Facts

Need to brush up on tips and ideas for Thanksgiving? Serving up a turkey for Christmas dinner but not sure where to start? Here are a few facts and tips about turkey that are sure to get you going on your turkey-cooking endeavors:

Fryer-Roaster Turkeys: Fryer-roasters generally weigh 5 to 8 pounds and are no more than 4 months old. Young hens (females) and toms (male) are between 5 to 7 months old. Hens usually weigh between 8 to 16 pounds, while toms can weigh 20 pounds or more. Yearlings are 1 year old or older.

Thermometers: Some turkeys have implanted pop-up thermometers that indicate when the bird is done cooking. Others, labeled "self-basting," have been injected with butter or vegetable oil.

What Size Turkey: Allot about 1-1/2 pounds of turkey per guest; for instance, buy a 12-pound turkey for a party of 8. This includes more than enough for leftovers.

Defrosting: Frozen turkeys will take 24 hours for every 5 pounds to defrost in the refrigerator. An easier -- and less space-consuming -- way to defrost your bird is to place it in a large pot or sink and cover it with cold water. Keep the water cold by changing it every 2 hours or so. Thawing a turkey in this manner should take about 30 minutes per pound.

Tired of traditional turkey recipes? Get inspired for new spins on turkey with these sites: