We all know how important the turkey is especially since it is the center of attention at the thanksgiving dinner and the problem faced by many home chefs year-round is how to make the best juicy and appetizing turkey.
Making a turkey for the whole family is such an important task that it sometimes gets overwhelming and stressful for the chef making it, especially when it’s your first time, but when you have a laid down procedure the stress wouldn’t be so much.
Different methods and techniques have been developed each producing unique and delicious results, this is why making a turkey gets easier each day and in this article, we have carefully compiled everything you’ll need to know about making a turkey so the process would be easier and the results extremely appetizing and beautiful.
Turkey Nutrition Facts
Tips to Note When Making a Turkey
Before you get into the full turkey recipe, you should take note of some helpful tips you could use when cooking a turkey.
You don’t have to wash the turkey; it is not necessary to wash the turkey before cooking, any bacteria on it would get killed when the turkey is cooking so it should get killed there than for it to contaminate your hands or sink when you remove the turkey from the packaging and remove the giblets just pat it dry with a paper towel.
Try not to overcook; you must have heard this already but this tip is crucial if you’re trying to get a juicy turkey, overcooking the turkey would only result in a lump of dry meat.
Always remember to let it rest; roasted foods especially meats need some time to rest after cooking for the juices to redistribute inside properly, if you carve the turkey too soon the juices in the meat would run out and leave the turkey dry.
Thawing frozen turkey ahead of time; a turkey recipe especially a big one like a 15lb has to be planned properly if you’ll be getting a frozen one then you must defrost it 2-3 days ahead before cooking so the meat cooks properly. Thaw it by placing it in a refrigerator 2-3 days before cooking or by placing it in cold water and changing the water every 30 minutes until it properly defrosts.
For every 5 pounds of turkey thaw for a day in a refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for at least an hour or two before you cook.
Always use a thermometer; to check for accurate doneness, a food thermometer must be an important tool used. It allows you conveniently check if the meat is up to the safe internal heat temperature of 165°F
Use butter so you don’t have to baste; applying some melted butter to the turkey before cooking would not only add delicious flavors but also give the turkey a beautiful brown color, so you don’t have to spend time basting regularly.
Basting regularly would require you to open the oven now and then which would lead to a longer cooking time and a dryer turkey.
Use foil to cover the turkey; what this tip does is that it prevents the turkey from getting too dark before getting completely cooked. Covering the turkey with aluminum foil loosely would prevent the skin from getting too dark early, you could remove the foil halfway through cooking.
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Cooking Methods and Time for a 15lb Turkey
A 15lb turkey could be made using different methods and some of them include:
Oven-roasting; this method is one of the most common ways of making a 15lb turkey, it produces juicy and delicious results when done correctly.
This process involves placing the seasoned turkey in a preheated oven and baking for a specific amount of time before removing it, letting it rest, and serving with some gravy.
Air frying; this method is almost like the oven-roasting method but it involves cooking with a large-capacity outdoor air fryer that can cook up to a 20 lb roast. To make this, pat dry with paper towels, rub generously with butter (in and out of the skin), and then season before placing it inside the preheated air fryer and cooking until it reaches 165° F.
To most persons, this method is safer, healthier, and simpler.
Deep-frying; is another fast and delicious way to make a turkey, although you’ll have to follow some safety precautions like cooking this outside, putting on some gloves, and using cardboard to place underneath the fryer to catch any oil spill.
The rest of the process just involves you seasoning with some salt and pepper then deep frying with the use of turkey lowering attachments till it reaches the proper doneness when you check with a thermometer.
|Cooking methods||Cooking time|
|Roasting a 15lb turkey in an oven at 350° F||3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours (unstuffed)
4 to 4 1/4 hours (stuffed)
|Air frying a 15lb turkey at 350° F||2-2 ½ hours (8-10 minutes per pound)|
|Deep frying a 15lb turkey at 325° F||1 hour 25 minutes|
- Start by pre-heating the oven to 450° F
- Next, bring the turkey from where it is resting, remove the giblets from the cavity and keep them aside for some gravy.
- Pat dry the turkey with some paper towels or a clean dry kitchen towel.
- In a small saucepan melt some butter with some fresh rosemary and sage (for extra flavor), once melted remove the fresh herbs and add to the cavity of the turkey then use the melted butter to rub on the turkey’s skin.
- Season the turkey with some salt and pepper.
- Add some herbs and veggies to the cavity of the turkey for extra flavor if you wouldn’t be stuffing it and add some to the bottom of the roasting pan along with 2 cups of water or low-sodium broth.
- After doing this, put the turkey inside the oven, cover it with a foil, reduce the temperature to 350° F and cook according to the time listed above.
- Remove the foil halfway through cooking so the skin would brown properly.
- Later on, check with a thermometer when the time is up to see if it’s up to 165° F.
- If it’s up to that temperature remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for about 20-30 minutes.
- After that, carve it up and serve with some gravy or any other topping you want.
If you’d like more ideas on how to cook a 15lb turkey, check out this video recipe