I needed a refresher on turkey defrosting and cooking info, and naturally thought "ooh! Blog post!"
Refrigerator: the safest, and the longest, method. Here's an estimate:
8 to 12 pounds = 2 to 2.5 days
12 to 16 pounds = 2.5 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds = 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds = 5 to 6 days
Time: thirty minutes per pound.
This is the method that I usually use. Leave the bird in its original packaging, and be sure to check and change the water every half hour (to ensure that it stays cold and fresh).
I put the still-wrapped turkey in a couple of kitchen catchers and submerse it in a cooler in the bathtub. I like using the cooler because you can keep the bird submerged by closing the lid, and changing and refreshing the water is really easy (open the spout at the bottom to drain and slide the cooler under the tap to refill).
Here are some links to articles that have cooking time charts:
This is an estimate, of course, because ovens can vary as to the heat they produce. The safest thing to do is use a meat thermometer in the deepest part of the meat, to ensure that the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 170F (77C).
One more safety tip: NEVER pre-stuff a thawed turkey. You can make your stuffing in advance and store it in the fridge, but do not put it in the bird until right before it goes in the oven.
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