Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Help for the Holidays: How to Cook a Frozen Turkey


While I was in college at Utah State University I took an extremely hard foods class from a brilliant professor  Dr.  Charlotte Brennand.  I use things from that class every time I cook.  Dr. Brennand taught me to approach cooking as a science and changed how I look at food and its interaction. She sent out these instructions about cooking a turkey from frozen a few years ago and I use it every year.  One note this does not work well with preseasoned turkeys (think barbecue, or Asian) as the seasoning tends to burn.  I hope it helps you.

Time Tables for Roasting
Frozen Turkey

The following data is based on a research project conducted in the USU NFS department a few years ago.  I still receive requests for this information and thought it might be of value to you also.

The procedure for roasting a frozen turkey is to take the turkey from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap.  Put the frozen turkey in a shallow pan and cover with a foil tent.  The edge of the foil should just hang loosely around the turkey.  Put the frozen bird in the oven and turn the oven to the desired temperature.  The giblets and neck will still be in the craw.  These can be removed halfway through the cooking if desired or just prior to serving.  Remove the foil tent and turn the oven up to 400 degrees F. for the last 15-30 minutes of the cooking time to have a nice brown on the bird.  The bird can not be stuffed and use these time tables.

The two oven temperatures that we recommend are 250 degrees F and the traditional 325 degrees F.  Both will produce a good product.  Which is the better choice depends on the size of the turkey and the time schedule.  For example, to serve a 22 lb. turkey at 1:00 p.m. would require that the bird go in the oven around 3:30 a.m. if using the 325 degree F oven or around 7:30 p.m. the previous night if using a 250 degree F oven.  The lower temperature oven allows the cook to sleep all night.  It also ties up the oven longer.

Bird Size
Minutes per pound
Weight in Pounds
250 degree oven
350 degree oven



10
57
39
12
56
37
14
54
34
16
52
32
18
51
30
20
49
27
22
47
25
24
45
23





Note:  Time schedules are based on heating the turkey from 0 degrees F to 170 degrees F.

                                                                                    Charlotte Brennand
                                                                                    Food and Nutrition Specialist
Utah State University


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