Turkey Cooking Tips


Here are a few cooking tips for preparing your Thanksgiving turkey:

1)     Don’t forget to check the turkey cavity to remove the giblets and neck before you begin preparing your bird. These can be used to make gravy, stuffing and/or stock.

2)     We recommend brining your bird, as these birds have not been injected with salt-water like a conventional bird.


Basic Brining Instructions 

-       Allow approx. 1 hour brining time per pound bird (more/less time is ok!).

-       Use a ratio of 1 cup kosher salt and ½ - 1 cup brown sugar (depending on taste) to every 1 gallon of water. Adjust the total liquid amount according to the size of your turkey, taking your brining container into account. You will most likely need at least 2 gallons of solution.

-       Your brining container could be: a brining bag (available for purchase at most home/kitchen supply stores), a large stock pot, a food-grade 5-gallon bucket, or an ice chest.

-       {For a 2 gallon solution} Dissolve 2 cups of kosher salt and 1 - 2 cups of brown sugar in 2 quarts of warm water. Once dissolved, add 6 more quarts cold water to complete your 2‑gallon solution. Increase this solution based on size of your turkey and brining container.

-       Add herbs, spices and aromatics of your choosing. Some ideas include black peppercorns, rosemary, bay leaves, sage leaves, lemon / orange peel, garlic cloves, onion / shallots. There are lots of recipes on the internet if you are looking for inspiration.

-       Ensure your brining solution is cold before adding your turkey. Give your turkey a rinse, inside and out, before fully immersing it in the solution. Refrigerate and brine approximately 1 hour per pound bird. If your brining container doesn’t fit in the refrigerator, just ice it down, cover and set in a cool place.

-       After brining time is complete, remove bird from brine. Rinse well and/or submerge in cold water for approx. 15 minutes. Remove and pat dry before preparing according to your normal roasting method.


3)     Please be aware that pasture-raised birds typically cook a bit faster (approx. 8-10 minutes per pound unstuffed, or 12-15 minutes per pound stuffed). Since oven temperatures vary, a meat thermometer is extremely helpful for determining doneness. It should read 165 oF in the thickest part of the thigh before removing from the oven.


4)     There are many recipes out there for roasting a turkey, each suggesting something slightly different! Here are our basic guidelines/recommendations:


-       Opt for a roasting temperature of 325 oF - 350 oF.

-       Brush turkey liberally with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Feel free to rub any other herbs/spices onto the turkey and/or place any aromatics (garlic, onion, lemon, herbs, etc) in the cavity as you like.

-       Place in a roasting pan (on a rack if you have one), breast side up.

-       Roast, basting with additional butter every 30 minutes.

-       When the bird has reached your desired level of “brown­-ness”, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

-       When the bird is done, a meat thermometer should read 165 oF when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh. Remove from oven and let rest at least 15-30 minutes before carving.


Note: If you plan on stuffing your bird, allow approx. 5 min/lb increased cooking time. For food safety reasons, ensure that the temperature of the stuffing has also reached at least 165 oF.


Thanks again for your purchase and hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Fair Valley Farm