How long do you cook a 13-pound turkey? Best cooking time and temperature

It is Thanksgiving time, and your family is depending on you to deliver a world-class roast turkey. You might have wondered how long it will take to prepare an average-sized one. Well, thankfully, you are in the right place, and I will answer all your questions with regards to preparing a wonderful roast turkey.

An average-sized turkey weighs about 13 pounds, and a general rule is to allow a pound of turkey to cook for 15 minutes.

This means that on average, a turkey should cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Turkey is quite a big bird; hence, it’s recommended that you cook it slowly and at lower temperatures to ensure that it cooks all the way through. You should cook it for this duration of time at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, when it gets to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, you can be sure that it is well cooked.

Do you put water in the bottom of the roasting pan for the turkey?

There are some reasons why professional chefs say you shouldn’t use water while roasting your turkey. I will list some of the reasons why you shouldn’t add water.

Adding water can cause your turkey not to cook through completely. Evidence of these would be splotches of browning, even when it is undercooked.

Water generates steam. Turkey cooked via steam would be less flavorful than that cooked by dry roasting.

The meat will be less flavorful if it is cooked via steam instead of roasting.

The presence of water in your meat can soak into it and cause it to separate from the bones. You’ll be missing out on holding on to those wonderful drumsticks laden with flesh.

In comparison to dry roasting, the drippings from your turkey tend to have a diluted flavor.

There is also the tendency for splattering to occur when fat from your turkey drips into the water.

How to Cover Your Turkey with Foil?

Many recipes recommend using aluminum foil while roasting your turkey on a rack. The reasoning behind this is that wrapping your turkey with foil helps to trap the heat and moisture within the bird while still allowing it to crisp all around. It allows hot air to circulate around the turkey much more evenly while not being allowed to escape.

Some recipes also suggest that you cover only the chicken breasts since they are most likely to dry out, while other parts of the chicken breast fall into the category of white meat and are prone to losing moisture more quickly than other parts such as thighs and drumsticks, which are made up of dark meat. And you can decide to remove the foil during the latter part of the roasting so that everything crisps up.

Basically, covering the turkey with foil will yield a much more moist bird than roasting it uncovered. However, some people argue that roasting a turkey breast side down and then flipping it halfway through cooking would yield similar results to roasting a turkey covered in foil. In practicality, it’s not the easiest thing to flip a full turkey while still in the roasting pan. Hence, you could stick with the option of covering it in foil while roasting.

How to Cover Your Turkey with Cheesecloth?

Covering your turkey with cheesecloth is another wonderful alternative to foil. You can soak your cheesecloth in butter and herbs, with the option of adding wine. This will help add some wonderful and tasteful flavors to your turkey. The results are usually a very moist and tender turkey with very crispy skin. However, you must note that cheesecloth is quite expensive and scarce. Also, when soaked with butter, there is a high tendency that it could begin smoking in your oven.

Roasting a turkey in a covered roaster is still the best option because the resulting moistness is second to none. Also, covering with foil and cheesecloth can ensure some crispiness.

Should I put butter on my turkey?

When roasting turkey, one of the major considerations is ensuring that it doesn’t dry out quickly. This is where butter comes into play. Applying butter under the skin of your turkey can add some extra moisture while preventing it from drying out. In addition, it also adds a delightful and rich flavor.

While it’s not a must that you add butter while roasting your turkey, it is always an option for you to do so.

For added convenience, you can apply the butter the night before you plan to roast it. A lot of people are of the opinion that this gives us more time for the butter to infuse its flavors into the turkey.

Salted or unsalted butter will do just fine, or you can make use of a herbal butter mixture.

Should I put butter or oil on my turkey?

Another option that you can consider as an alternative to butter is olive oil. Olive oil is a very healthy alternative, and the plus side is that it won’t compromise the taste of your turkey. For extra flavor, you can infuse your oil with herbs and then baste your turkey while it roasts.

With regards to crispiness, olive oil is a better choice. It gives the turkey a higher quality of crisp and crunch.

In fact, olive oil is the best oil for roasting turkey.

How early should I thaw my turkey?

The turkey should be thawed early enough before being roasted. A general rule is to allow one day for every five pounds of turkey. So for a 13-pound turkey, it should be allowed to thaw for at least 3 days before being roasted. You can even add an extra day, just to be on the safe side.

What are some tips you can apply to make your turkey come out better?

You want a better roast turkey, and then these are some tips that I’m very certain will help you get the best out of your turkey.

Don’t bother washing the turkey. Washing the turkey just creates extra work for you. Just let the kids and the oven or air fryer do the work to kill any bacteria that might be in the turkey. Patting it down with paper towels is enough.

Vegetables on a roasting rack: Not having a roasting rack should not be a hindrance to you creating a wonderful roast turkey. You can make use of vegetables such as celery stalks and onion rings to act as a makeshift bottom. They will do the job of preventing the talk from burning from below. You can simply place them on the bottom of the dish or pan you are using to hold the turkey.

Stick with the rub. You should trust your herbed butter rub to do the job of keeping your turkey moist throughout the roasting process. There is literally no need for you to keep basting the turkey while it cooks. Basting will require you to open the oven from time to time, and this can be difficult and strenuous. It could also mess up the temperature and duration of cooking.

Acquaint yourself with a thermometer. Thermometers are useful tools to have on hand when roasting a turkey. Using an instant-read thermometer is a surefire way to ensure that you get your turkey properly done. The appropriate temperature for you and me is between 165° and 175° F.

How do you stuff a turkey?

Step 1

First, you must ensure that your turkey is properly defrosted and thawed. Next, you remove all the innards, such as the heart, neck, and gizzard. Trim out the insides, and then rinse under running water. Use paper towels to pat it dry.

Step 2

Begin to rub salt and pepper on the insides of the turkey. Use some softened butter to add flavor and moisture to the turkey. In addition, we can rub some butter underneath the skin of the bird.

Step 3

Pour some of your stuffing mixture into the neck of the turkey, and then pin the free skin of the turkey with a metal pin or skewer. Fill the turkey’s neck with a handful of your stuffing mixture and pin the free skin to the body using a small metal skewer.

Step 4

Before roasting, start filling up the body cavity of the turkey with your filling. Make sure that whatever you’re using as your stuffing, whether it be poultry or meat, has been precooked.

Step 5

Finally, to prevent deuces from overflowing, tie the legs of a turkey with butcher’s twine. Then cook till the internal temperature gets to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

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