Central Market No Fail Roasted Turkey Guide

The fear of rendering your family’s traditional bird inedible is almost too much to bear for some kitchen novices. Even professionals can be put off not only by the size of the bird, but also the pressure of the event and the trickiness in which it seems to unveil itself. One misstep and, well, it’s overdone and so are you.

Central Market Dallas Cooking Coach Bryan has come up with yet another handy solution to the dreaded dry turkey. His simple yet comprehensive turkey guide will put even the shakiest of Thanksgiving chefs at ease. Printed copies can be picked up at the Market counter any time you’re in the Dallas store. Be sure to stop by CM Cooks and thank Bryan for saving the day.


A simple guide to outline proper thawing, cooking, and serving for your Thanksgiving bird.

* Some information compiled from the USDA

Buying Tips
When buying a whole turkey, estimate approximately 1 lb per person. If buying fresh, don’t purchase more than one to two days before cooking.

Thawing Procedure for a Frozen Bird
Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for one to two days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.

Thawing in the Refrigerator (40 degrees or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 lbs
4-12 lbs: 1-3 days
12-16 lbs: 3-4 days
16-20 lbs: 4-5 days
20-24 lbs: 5-6 days

Thawing in Cold Water (changing water every 30 min)
Allow approximately 30 minutes per lb
4-12 lbs: 2-6 hours
12-16 lbs: 6-8 hours
16-20 lbs: 8-10 hours
20-24 lbs: 10-12 hours

To Brine or Not to Brine
Brining, similar to marinating, is a process of soaking the meat in a salted solution long enough for the salt to penetrate into the flesh. This process accomplishes two things when done correctly: it gives you the ability to season your meal all the way through due to osmosis, and it denatures the protein in the meat, which allows it to more readily hold on to moisture during the cooking process, resulting in an overall juicier roast with more flavor. In other words, it’s worth the extra effort for the perfect turkey.

Basic Brine Recipe
1 gallon hot tap water
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
Rosemary, thyme, sage, black pepper or chili flakes optional

Mix the ingredients together, making sure that you create enough to cover the turkey. Soak the turkey in a large stock pot or brining bag in a refrigerator 1 hour per pound. If storage space is an issue, you can always use a brining bag and store the turkey in a large cooler filled with ice, making sure to replenish every six hours or so.

Basic Roasting Guide
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place rack in the lowest position of the oven.

Remove turkey from brine if used and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the skin down with olive oil and black pepper. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan with a rack. Place a large aluminum foil tent over the bird and place in the oven. Pour 4 cups of water or stock in the base of the pan and roast covered for 2 ½ hours. Check every 30 minutes to ensure the juices in the pan don’t dry out. Remove foil and roast uncovered until the inner thigh meat is 175 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest covered on a carving block for 20-30 minutes. Use the drippings in the pan to make gravy.

Roasting Chart
4-8 lbs (breast): 1½-3¼ hours
8-12 lbs: 2¾-3 hours
12-14 lbs: 3-3¾ hours
14-18 lbs: 3¾-4¼ hours
18-20 lbs: 3¾-4¼ hours

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6 Comment(s):

christian louboutin discount wrote on 4/15/2013 7:15:54 AM

very nice put up, i definitely love this web site, carry on it, Merely wanna state that this is very beneficial, Thanks for taking your time to write this

Don wrote on 11/14/2012 3:06:36 PM


Global Administrator wrote on 11/12/2012 9:01:28 AM

Randy - information about upcoming cooking classes is available by store from our cooking school page on the website http://www.centralmarket.com/cooking-school.aspx and you can order Central Market Gift Cards from our shop online page http://www.centralmarket.com/shop-online.aspx and follow the link to a page on the HEB website http://www.heb.com/gift-card/gift-cards.jsp

randy underwood wrote on 11/11/2012 8:31:20 AM

would like to inquire of future cooking classes and gift gift certificates for xmas

Global Administrator wrote on 11/8/2012 10:19:50 AM

For the recipe above 12-24 hours is great. The best thing to keep in mind is the more concentrated the brine, the shorter the time your turkey should brine. You could also brine a turkey for a few days if you brought down the amount of salt in our recipe to 3/4 cup.

Carolyn wrote on 11/8/2012 6:34:49 AM

How long do you brine the turkey?

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