August 23, 2014
Cooking Turkey: Times & Temperature Infographic

Cooking Turkey: Temperature

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

For dry-heat methods, such as roasting, broiling, or pan-frying, you can leave the turkey skin on. This will help keep the meat moist and juicy,and won’t increase the fat content of the turkey as long as it is removed before eating. But for mixed-ingredient dishes, where the fat from the skin would stay in the dish (like stews or casseroles), you should use skinless turkey.

Roasting Use the information in the “Cooking Turkey Infographic” below for traditional turkey roasting. We give cooking times for unstuffed birds. Poultry stuffings are especially prone to bacterial contamination; the bacteria in the raw poultry can get into the stuffing and multiply, so we advise cooking the stuffing separately. Furthermore, an unstuffed bird cooks faster than a stuffed one.

Steam-roasting We use a combination of roasting and steaming to produce a particularly moist and flavorful bird. The turkey starts out in a tightly covered roasting pan with some liquid, which turns to steam to cook the turkey. The lid is removed for the last 20 minutes or so to brown the skin. This is really just a cosmetic issue, since for health reasons, you should not be eating the skin anyway.

Broiling/grilling Turkey cutlets and burgers can be broiled or grilled, and larger turkey parts (such as thighs or drumsticks) can be grilled on a barbecue, but not in a broiler. For grilling thicker parts, such as thighs and drumsticks, be sure the grill rack is 6 to 8 inches from the heat source. Turn turkey parts occasionally as they cook; they will take 45 minutes or more, depending on size and thickness.

Pan-frying Plain turkey breast cutlets can be pan-fried in a nonstick skillet with a small amount of oil, but if you dredge them in egg whites and a coating (usually of breadcrumbs) first, it helps keep the juices in. Ground turkey breast, in the form of burgers, can be pan-“fried” in a nonstick skillet with a small amount of liquid.

Stir-frying Quick cooking over high heat, in a small amount of oil, is a good choice for thin strips of lean turkey breast.

Poaching Large pieces of turkey breast can be poached in broth, or broth and wine. You can use this method to make a hot dish or use it to cook turkey for later use in a cold dish.

Braising/stewing In order to stew or braise turkey, which is very lean and will just get “raggy” if cooked too long, we use a technique that is also employed for other lean meats: First quickly pan-fry the turkey, then remove it while the other stew ingredients cook, then return the turkey to the stew at the end of the cooking. For ground turkey, you can braise it in a sauce or stew for a short amount of time.