Favorite family times of the year are generally the fall and the winter.  During these often chilly seasons, there are always a couple of special days that everyone but the turkey looks forward to.  When preparing your holiday festivities, the most critical part of your seasonal get-togethers is the food.  The main dish usually served is none other than the pilgrim-made famous turkey.

When preparing your family turkey, it is important that you have the information at hand to give your bird the perfect texture and taste.  You’ll want your bird to be soft, moist, and juicy.  The duty of cooking the holiday turkey is usually the family honor!

The Right Thermometer for the job

When preparing your turkey for cooking, it is critical that you have a thermometer to keep track of the turkey’s temperature.  Cooking your turkey for just the right amount of time on the desired temperature is the difference between a dry meal and a juicy meal.

There are a few different types of thermometers for meat including the instant-read thermometer and the popup style of thermometer.  In this article we will take a look at the instant-read thermometer.  The instant-read thermometer is usually the preferred method for the turkey due to its efficiency with temperatures.

When cooking your turkey, you must be able to maintain knowledge of the inside of your bird’s temperature.  When the center of your turkey reaches 165 deg.F, this usually means your turkey is done.  The inner temperature is measured to insure safety when cooking any large-bodied meat.

Thanksgiving Turkey Safety Tips

A thermometer has to be used when cooking turkey because it is the only way to be certain the internal temperature is high enough to kill all bacteria present.  At the same time a thermometer can help you avoid under and overcooking.

What is the Right Cooking Temperature?

Turkeys should always be reasted in an oven at a temperature of at least 325 degrees, and the internal temperature has to be at least 175 to 180 degrees on the thigh or 165 degrees on the breast.  If you are preparing a stuffed turkey the temperature in the middle of the stuffing has to be 165 degrees.  Use your cooking thermometer or oven thermometer to be sure.

The cooking time will depend on the size of the turkey and if it is stuffed or not.  As a guide:  Make sure you use your cooking thermometer for accuracy.

*   8-12 pounds:  unstuffed, 2 3/4 – 3 hours

*   8-12 pounds:  stuffed, 3 – 3 1/2 hours

*   12-14 pounds:  unstuffed, 3 – 3 3/4 hours

*   12-14 pounds:  stuffed, 3 1/2 – 4 hours

*   14-18 pounds:  unstuffed, 3 3/4 – 4 1/4 hours

*  14-18 pounds:  stuffed, 4 – 4 1/4 hours

Cooking and Handling Tips

Besides a cooking thermometer, you should use separate utensils for the turkey and other food to avoid contamination.  Once the oven thermometer indicates that the turkey is cooked, carefully take it out of the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.  At this point the temperature will continue to climb, so letting the turkey rest for 20 minutes isn’t an issue.

Whether you use a traditional thermometer like model# RT01 by Maverick to monitor your turkey or a digital thermometer like the ET81 by Maverick, this will assure your family and friends a deliciously tasty holiday meal.

Jackson Kern