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A Pefectly Cooked Turkey

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Roasting a Free Range Shelton's Turkey

A Perfectly Cooked TurkeyPREPARING FOR OVEN
Remove giblet bag and neck from turkey, rinse and pat dry. Check both cavities for extra parts. Here are the methods for preparing stuffed and un-stuffed turkeys.

STUFFED
Prepare your favorite dressing recipe. Never stuff the turkey the night before, stuff it only just prior to placing in the oven. You can save time by preparing, measuring and refrigerating the stuffing ingredients the night before cooking. The stuffing should be loosely packed into the neck and body cavities. Do not over-stuff, as the stuffing will expand during cooking. Allow 1/2 to 3/4 cups stuffing per pound of turkey. If your recipe makes more stuffing than the bird will hold, wrap the remaining mixture in foil and bake alongside the bird in the pan during the last 1/2 hour of roasting. After stuffing, tuck drumsticks back into the clip and skewer the neck skin to the back of the bird.

UNSTUFFED
Rub salt generously in cavities and, if desired, insert a few pieces of celery, carrot and onion to improve flavor. Fold neck skin to the back and fasten with skewer. Tuck legs back into the clip.

MEAT THERMOMETERS
There are two ways to insert a thermometer in turkeys. If a bird is stuffed, insert it through the large meaty muscle inside of the thigh without touching the bone. Unstuffed, insert it in the meaty portion of the breast without touching the bone. When the turkey is done, the temperature should read 165 to 170 degrees. The juices should run clear. If no thermometer is used, the thickest part of the drumstick should feel soft, and the leg and wing joints should move freely.

ROASTING THE TURKEY
Prepare turkey as directed and place, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. If the bird is browning too fast, tent loosely with foil, or cover the breast with a butter soaked cheesecloth. Roast turkey at 325 degrees per this timetable:

APPROXIMATE TIMES

STUFFED BIRDUNSTUFFED BIRD
8 to 12 lbs - - - 3-4 hours       8 to 12 lbs - - 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours
12 to 16 lbs - - - 4-5 hours
12 to 16 lbs - - 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 hours
16 to 20 lbs - - - 5-5 1/2 hours
16 to 20 lbs - - 4 1/2 - 5 hours
20 to 24 lbs - - - 5 1/2 - 6 hours
20 to 24 lbs - - 5 - 5 1/2 hours
24 to 28 lbs - - - 6 - 6 1/2 hours
24 to 28 lbs - - 5 1/2 - 6 hours

Turkey should rest at room temperature for about 1/2 hour before carving.



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