How to cook a turkey

Turkey is an incredibly versatile meat – lean and full of flavor. At Ferndale Market, we don’t mask our turkey’s flavor with fillers or additives because we don’t need to. The way we raise our turkeys makes all the difference. These turkey cooking tips will help you learn the basics and ensure your Ferndale Market turkey is tender, moist, and flavorful every time.

Thawing

The fridge is the best place to thaw your bird. Turkeys will thaw about 3 lbs per day so be sure to plan ahead.

Short on time? You can thaw your bird using the Cold Water Thaw method: submerge the unopened turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes. This method thaws about 2 lbs per hour.

Brining

Brining is a great way to add moisture and seasonings to your turkey. The extra liquid helps prevent the turkey from drying out, thus allowing more flexibility in your cooking times.

The basic wet brine is one cup of coarse kosher salt or sea salt to one gallon of water, making enough to submerge the bird. We recommend not brining for longer than 12 hours.

Herbs, fruits, and seasonings are all great additions to brines. Customize to your tastes!

Thawing

The fridge is the best place to thaw your bird. Turkeys will thaw about 3 lbs per day so be sure to plan ahead.

Short on time? You can thaw your bird using the Cold Water Thaw method: submerge the unopened turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes. This method thaws 2 lbs per hour.

Brining

Brining is a great way to add moisture and seasonings to your turkey. The extra liquid helps prevent the turkey from drying out, thus allowing more flexibility in your cooking times.

The basic wet brine is one cup of coarse kosher salt or sea salt to one gallon of water, making enough to submerge the bird. We recommend not brining for longer than 12 hours.

Herbs, fruits, and seasonings are all great additions to brines so be sure to customize to your tastes!

Cooked Fresh Whole Turkey

Cooking

When you are ready to cook your turkey, remove the bag of giblets from the neck cavity. Pat the bird dry with paper towels, then let rest at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. The plastic hock lock is oven safe and can be kept in place.

No matter how you decide to cook turkey, it is important to have a good meat thermometer. The turkey should come out of the oven when the breast reaches an internal temperature of 165F and the dark meat reaches 170-175F.

Cooking

When you are ready to cook your turkey, remove the bag of giblets from the neck cavity. Pat the bird dry with paper towels, then let rest at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. The plastic hock lock is oven safe and can be kept in place.

No matter how you decide to cook turkey, it is important to have a good cooking thermometer because you need to be sure the turkey comes out of the oven when breast reaches an internal 165F and the dark meat reaches 170-175F.

Perfect for getting a golden brown skin and that classic turkey flavor.

1. Now that you have your bird thawed, dried, and rested, melt butter and rub it all over the outside of the bird. Sprinkle the whole bird with salt and pepper. Feel free to add other herbs and spices at this time.

2. Preheat the oven to 325° F.

3. Place the turkey on a roasting rack with the:

   – Breast side up: tent a piece of tin foil over the breast. This creates a crispy-skinned bird that looks beautiful on the table, but keep an eye on the breast temperature so it does not dry out.

   – Breast side down: this exposes more heat to the thighs so they cook to their 170-175° F temperature more quickly. The juices pool in the breast, keeping it moist. The skin on the breast will not crisp this way. If you want to crisp the skin, you can flip the bird for the last few minutes of cooking.

4. Cover the bottom of a roasting pan with broth to add moisture to the turkey while cooking. Place the bird and roasting rack into the roasting pan. Place pan in the center of the oven and cook for about 14 minutes per pound.

5. Near the end of the cooking time, begin checking the temperature of the breast and thigh. The center of the breast should reach 165° F and the thigh 170-175° F.

6. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for 30-40 minutes so the bird absorbs the juices released during cooking. Use drippings in roasting pan for gravy.

Looking for a delicious recipe for roasting your whole turkey? Try this tasty Butter & Herb Roasted Turkey recipe from Chef Donald Selmer.

This method is a great hands-off way to cook a tender turkey.

*Be sure your turkey fits in your slow cooker. Our Bone-In Breasts, which are 5-7 lbs each, are perfect for this cooking method.

1. Now that you have your bird thawed, dried, and rested, melt butter and rub it all over the outside of the bird. Sprinkle the whole bird with salt and pepper. Feel free to add other herbs and spices at this time.

2. If desired, cover the bottom of the slow cooker with broth and a single layer of vegetables.

3. Place your turkey in the slow cooker, secure the lid, and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until the thermometer reads 165F at the center of the breast.

4. Remove the turkey from the slow cooker and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

*To get golden, crispy skin: when the turkey has finished cooking, move to a roasting pan and place under the broiler for 4-5 minutes.

There is nothing quite like the charred, smoky goodness of a freshly grilled turkey.

1. Spread your coals in the grill (enough to burn for 3-4 hours) and light. (If your grill cannot comfortably fit this many briquettes, halve quantity and add the remainder after 1-2 hours of cooking.) Let briquettes burn until the exteriors are white. During this time, ensure your bird is fully thawed, dried, and rested.

2. Spread the coals to the outside edges of the grill, place aluminum drip pan in center to catch drippings.

3. Insert meat thermometer into breast, lay turkey breast side up, and place on the grill rack.

4. Cover and let cook for 3 hours.

5. Check the temperature and cook until the breast reaches 165° F and the thighs 170-175°F.

6. Let rest for 20-40 minutes and enjoy!

Succulent and flavorful, deep frying is a fantastic way to cook a turkey.

1. Remove the plastic hock lock and all excess moisture before frying.

2. Make sure there is enough oil to cover the turkey.

(This can be done by taking the thawed turkey and placing it in the empty fryer. Fill with water until the turkey is covered by 1-2” of water. Remove the turkey and thoroughly dry. Note the water line with a ruler. Empty the fryer, dry thoroughly, and fill to noted level with oil.) Heat the oil to 350° F.

3. SLOWLY lower the turkey into the oil.

4. Cook the turkey 3-4 minutes per pound until the breast reaches 165° F and the thigh 170-175° F.

5. Slowly remove the turkey from the fryer and let it drain on paper towels.

6. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes and then enjoy!

BE SAFE:

– It is crucial to fully thaw and dry your turkey before frying. Water causes the hot oil to spit and frozen turkeys can explode. Deep frying is a wonderful way to enjoy turkey, but take appropriate precautions. Aside from Christmas trees, deep frying turkeys on Thanksgiving causes the most holiday fires each year.

Perfect for getting a golden brown skin and that classic turkey flavor!

1. Now that you have your bird thawed, dried, and rested, melt butter and rub it all over the outside of the bird. Sprinkle the whole bird with salt and pepper. Feel free to add other herbs and spices at this time.

2. Preheat the oven to 325° F

3. Place the turkey on a roasting rack with the:

   – Breast side up: tent a piece of tin foil over the breast. This creates a crispy skinned bird that looks beautiful on the table, but keep an eye on the breast temperature so it does not dry out.

   – Breast side down: this exposes more heat to the thighs so they cook to their 170-175° F temperature more quickly. The juices pool in the breast, keeping it moist. The skin on the breast will not crisp this way. If you want to crisp the skin, you can flip the bird for the last few minutes of cooking.

4. Cover the bottom of a roasting pan with broth to add moisture to the turkey while cooking. Place the bird and roasting rack into the roasting pan. Place pan in the center of the oven and cook for about 14 minutes/lb.

5. Near the end of the cooking time, begin checking the temperature of the breast and thigh. The center of the breast should reach 165° F and the thigh 170-175° F.

6. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for 30-40 minutes so the bird absorbs the juices released during cooking. Use drippings in roasting pan for gravy.

This method is a great hands-off way to cook a tender turkey.

**Be sure your turkey fits in your slow cooker. Our Bone-In Breast [link] are perfect for this because they are 5-7 lbs each.

1. Now that you have your bird thawed, dried, and rested, melt butter and rub it all over the outside of the bird. Sprinkle the whole bird with salt and pepper. Feel free to add other herbs and spices at this time.

2. If desired, just cover the bottom of the slow cooker with broth and a single layer of vegetables.

3. Place your turkey in the slow cooker, secure the lid, and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until the thermometer reads 165F at the center of the breast.

4. Remove the turkey from the slow cooker and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

**To get golden, crispy skin: when the turkey has finished cooking, move to a roasting pan and place under the broiler for 4-5 minutes.

There is nothing quite like the charred, smokey goodness of a freshly grilled turkey

1. Spread your coals in the grill (enough to burn for 3-4 hours) and light. (If your grill cannot comfortably fit this many briquettes, halve quantity and add the remainder after 1-2 hours of cooking). Let briquettes burn until the exteriors are white. During this time, ensure your bird is fully thawed, dried, and rested.

2. Spread the coals to the outside edges of the grill, place aluminum drip pan in center to catch drippings.

3. Insert meat thermometer into breast, lay turkey breast side up, and place on the grill rack.

4. Cover and let cook for 3 hours.

5. Check the temperature and cook until the breast reaches 165° F and the thigh 170-175°F.

6. Let rest for 20-40 minutes & enjoy!

Succulent and flavorful, deep-frying is a fantastic way to cook a turkey!

1. Remove the plastic hock lock and all excess moisture before frying.

2. Make sure there is enough oil to cover the turkey.

(This can be done by taking the thawed turkey and placing it in the empty fryer. Fill with water until the turkey is covered by 1-2” of water. Remove the turkey and thoroughly dry. Note the water line with a ruler. Empty the fryer, dry thoroughly, and fill to noted level with oil). Heat the oil to 350° F.

3. SLOWLY lower the turkey into the oil.

4. Cook the turkey 3-4 minutes per pound until the breast reaches 165° F and the thigh 170-175° F.

5. Slowly remove the turkey from the fryer and let it drain on paper towels.

6. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes and then enjoy!

BE SAFE:

– It is crucial to fully thaw and dry turkeys before frying. Water causes the hot oil to spit and frozen turkeys can explode. Deep frying is a wonderful way to enjoy turkey, but take appropriate precautions! Aside from Christmas trees, deep frying turkeys on Thanksgiving causes the most holiday fires each year.

Carving a Turkey

Carving a Turkey

Carving a Turkey

Carving Turkey Breast at the Table

  1. Hold the top of the breast firmly with a fork. Take a sharp knife and cut into the side of breast at the base, parallel to the table top and just above the wing until you reach the ribs.
  2. Move to the top of the breast and slice the breast downward in portion-sized pieces to meet the base cut.

Carving Turkey Breast in the Kitchen

  1. Hold the top of the breast firmly with a fork. Starting at the top of the breast bone, push the knife along the keel bone and rib cage to carve the breast off the ribs.

  2. Lay the breast lobe on your cutting board. Carve into thin slices across the grain of the meat.

Carving Leg/Thigh at the Table & Kitchen

Pull the leg and thigh away from the body and cut away at the joint. Place on a cutting board and separate the thigh and leg at the joint. Carefully slice meat from bones, remove and discard hard tendons.

Butter & Herb Roasted Turkey

By Minnesota Chef, Donald Selmer

Get the recipe!