How to Cook a Turkey – the Perfect Turkey!

Basted TurkeyLearning how to cook a turkey – the perfect turkey – dates back to my grandma’s time.

And her delicious, slow cooking turkey recipe is an easy, super healthy, perfect turkey meal – my Granny was still dancing at 102!

Over the past century, thousands of others have successfully used this same perfect turkey recipe with only healthy results. And you can enjoy tasty, high protein, low-fat (without the skin) turkey any time of year.

So here’s a simple bird’s-eye-view of how to cook the perfect turkey.

If you set your oven temperature at the same number you want the inside of the turkey to reach, it will eventually get there – in about 24 hours.

This means you can conveniently put your perfect turkey in the oven the day beforehand and it will stay moist without basting and succulent without overcooking. So this method cuts way down on holiday stress.

How to Cook the Perfect Turkey

  • Several days beforehand make sure you have a meat thermometer, oven thermometer, roasting pan (no cover), adjustable roasting rack, carving board and knife. If it’s frozen, thaw your turkey.
  • The day before your meal, remove the neck and giblets from the (thawed) turkey. (Use the giblets in fat-free gravy or your turkey stuffing recipe. Rinse turkey well, inside and out, pat dry and position breast-side down on a roasting rack in a large pan. You can stuff the turkey at this time with a healthy wild rice stuffing.
  • Rub the turkey with 1 Tbs. of unsalted butter to help keep juices from evaporating. Cooking the turkey upside down, unsalted and lightly buttered makes it self-basting, which allows you to just let your slow-cooking turkey continue to roast slowly until it’s time to serve.
  • About 24 hours before dinner, preheat your oven to 350ºF, put a meat thermometer in the turkey breast (without touching bone) and roast your turkey for 1 hour at 350ºF to destroying any surface bacteria. After an hour reduce the oven heat to 185ºF.
  • Continue to roast the turkey at the low 185ºF overnight. Oven temperatures vary, so it’s essential to use a good oven thermometer to make sure your oven keeps accurate temperatures.
  • Several hours before serving check the meat thermometer. If it reads 185ºF for the turkey and at least 165ºF for the stuffing, keep roasting at 185ºF until time to serve. Otherwise, turn the oven up to 225ºF (or higher) to make sure your turkey gets to 185ºF  on time.
  • When you’re ready to serve, put the turkey on its back on a carving board. If the rack sticks, gently remove it. The turkey will be so juicy and tender that it’ll be easy to cut. Once you’ve taste how delicious it is you’ll never want to cook a turkey any other way.

This slow cooking turkey method is foolproof. There’s less pressure and people consistently report that their slow cook turkey is the best, most delicious, tender, juicy and most perfect turkey they’ve ever tasted.

Plus, since it cooks for 24 hours and can stay in a 185ºF oven for as long as necessary, there’s less preparation done on the day of your dinner.

Warning: Many newer model stoves have a feature that automatically turns the stove off after 12 hours. So be sure you disable this feature.

Slow Cook Turkey Track-Record

Even though the slow cooking turkey method, stuffed with turkey dressing, was a common practice throughout the first half of the twentieth century (and it makes perfectly good sense), what’s the modern perspective?

The main consideration seems to be, is it safe? You be the judge.

The USDA recently changed their recommendation for cooking turkey from185ºF to165ºF (the internal temperature when done). Nobody seems to understand why. In Canada the recommendation is still 185ºF.

They also promote at least a 325ºF oven temperature to kill food borne bacteria. But our slow cooking recipe calls for temperatures of 185ºF.

So what’s the slow-cook turkey reality? After all, the 1960s bestselling cookbook, Let’s Cook it Right, by pioneering nutritionist Adelle Davis, has a great slow cooking turkey recipe that agrees with my Granny’s.

And not too long ago, the University of Minnesota, Department of Food Science, injected two stuffed turkeys with bacteria and cooked them slowly – well below 325ºF – and yet all bacteria were safely destroyed.

So, since there’s no proof otherwise, and millions of people have eaten millions of stuffed slow cooking turkeys over many years with no known record of any problems, the track-record evidence seems clear.

But your decision on how to cook a turkey, how long to cook turkey and whether or not to enjoy this perfect turkey recipe is up to you.

What’s the Dog-Gone Problem?

Whether or not you mean to include this delicious slow cooking turkey as one of your healthy Thanksgiving recipes, here’s the only drawback.

fidoSince the turkey is in the oven all night, we wake up in the morning to find our dog lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of drool. But we take pity on poor Fido and make sure he gets lots of scraps. So all is soon forgiven!

More Commonsense Health for You:
Healthiest Vegetables List of Vegetables
Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes & Side Dishes
List of High Protein Foods Best Sources of Protein
How Many Calories Should I Eat a Day to Lose Weight?

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