Turkey Cooking Tips


Brought to you with love by Jillian at Blue Ridge Farms

  • This is Patrick….hahahaha totally joking! Let’s not go there, we will name him “Turkey.”  Take your Heritage Turkey and remove the organs that are in the cavity or neck of the bird. You can cook these and serve them with your meal, or do as you like with them. 
  • Keep your fresh Turkey in the fridge or somewhere below 4*C until you are ready to prepare it. 
  • You may notice some dots on the Turkey that look like ink spots. This is normal and is where some of the feathers have been removed.
  • Brining: this is optional. Brines will ensure a more even cook, just don’t make it too salty. 
    • ¾ Cup Kosher Salt per 4 Quarts (16 Cups) Water.
    • Let Turkey soak for 6-8 hrs (this is lots of time, even for a large bird).
    • Rinse your Turkey thoroughly and pat dry.
    • If making gravy, do not salt it until you have tasted it.
  • Rinse Turkey and pat dry if not brining. 
  • Allow Turkey to come to room temperature before stuffing and cooking. Place it breast side up for 1.5-2 hours. This ensures a more even cook and the dry skin will crisp up better! Some individuals like to keep the breast cold with a gel pack, as this also helps to even the cooking time. (So much to learn, I know!)
  • Just before cooking, place small chunks of butter under the skin, anywhere you can reach to. My grandma has an incredible herbed butter recipe that I make ahead of time and will be using again this year! Then season skin on each side. 
  • Stuffing; if you’re cooking stuffing inside your Turkey, pack it lightly. Tightly packed stuffing will result in an overcooked Turkey as the stuffing will take longer than the bird to cook. 
    • You can cook the stuffing outside of the turkey (in your crockpot or something). This lowers the risk of an overcooked turkey.
  • Ensure Turkey is cooked by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, make sure your thermometer does not touch any bones. It should read (165*F). When you let your turkey rest, it’s internal temperature will rise at least 5 degrees or even more if it rests for 20 minutes. 
  • Cooking: Preheat the oven to 425*C but lower to 325*C  
    • Our pastured Turkeys cook faster than conventional birds.
    • Assuming the Turkey is not stuffed and at room temperature when put in the oven. Stuffing will slow the cooking process down to ~13 mins per pound. 
    •  When the turkey is put in the 425*C oven, immediately lower it to 325*C
    • Allow for 10 minutes per pound, for an unstuffed Turkey.
      • 15 lbs for ~2.5 hrs
      • 20 lbs for ~3.25 hrs
      • 25 lbs for ~ 4 hrs

Please keep in mind that cooking times vary between birds, ovens, the temperature of the bird when it goes in the oven, stuffed vs. not stuffed etc. So always go by your thermometer. Our pastured turkeys will cook faster than conventional turkeys.

  • IMPORTANT: After cooking, cover with foil and let your Turkey rest in a warm place for 20-30 minutes. This will help keep the juices in the meat when cutting it. 
  • Cook on the safe side
    • Allow extra time for cooking.
    • Start testing your turkey’s temperature sooner to make sure it doesn’t get overcooked. 

APPROXIMATE TIMELINE: To eat 20lb Turkey at 6pm

5:00 AM  – Brine Turkey (optional)

NOON – Rinse Turkey and pat dry

12:10 PM – Allow Turkey to come to room temperature

2:00 PM – Preheat oven

2:10 PM – Add butter & seasonings to Turkey

2:15 PM – Put Turkey in oven

5:30 PM – Take Turkey out and let it rest.

5:55 PM – Slice & serve

6:00 PM – Enjoy!


Call/Text: 780-222-9134 

Email: info@blueridgefarms.ca