Sara Moulton's Turkey Tips

Good Morning America's Food Editor Sara Moulton, has been checking out your various Thanksgiving Day cooking questions for weeks. Moulton has answered some of the most frequent and most pressing cooking dilemmas in her online turkey Q and A below.

Question: When roasting a turkey does it matter what type of roasting pan that you use? Is stainless steel better than nonstick?
--Luba Cawley, Wilmington, Del.

Answer: A large substantial roasting pan is what you need for roasting turkey. You will get better drippings with a regular, not non stick, pan which makes a better base for a gravy.

Question: My family is really big on stuffing, the problem is there just never seems to be enough. How can I get that same great taste with stuffing cooked on top of the stove or baked out of the bird?
-- Jenny Campo, Oakland, Calif.

Answer: The stuffing can be baked while the turkey is resting. Put the stuffing into a baking pan and moisten it with a little chicken stock. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees F. for 30 minutes. If you want it to develop a little crust on top, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes. The stock keeps the stuffing moist, like it was inside the bird.

Question: What is the cooking time per pound assuming cooking at 325 degrees F.? Or is 350 degrees better?
-- Gary Krulewitz Lake Worth, Fla.

Answer: I wouldn't go by minutes per pound because there are too many variables. I would use the following chart as a guideline and check the turkey at the early end of it; 325 is my preferred temperature for cooking the bird.

Net Weight (lbs.) | Unstuffed (hours) | Stuffed (hours)

10 to 18        3 to 3-1/2        3-3/4 to 4-1/2
18 to 22        3-1/2 to 4        4-1/2 to 5
22 to 24        4 to 4-1/2        5 to 5-1/2
24 to 30        4-1/2 to 5        5-1/2 to 6-1/4

Question: Where does the thermometer go? Unlike the mall directory that says, "you are here", there's nothing on the turkey that says, "thermometer."
-- Bari Edwards, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Answer: The thermometer goes into the thickest part of the thigh and should not touch the bone.

Question: I only have one oven, how do I cook the turkey, rolls, ham and vegetables and get them all done at the same time?
-- Debi Aoki, Farmington, Utah

Answer: The turkey should rest for at least 30 minutes and will stay very hot for up to 1 hour. You can use that window of opportunity to heat up all the other elements of the meal.

Question: How do you always get the turkey out of the pan so it doesn't fall apart?
-- Megan Guynn, Sullivan, Ill.

Answer: It helps if you cook the turkey on a rack but even if you don't, the easiest way to get the turkey out of the pan is to insert large carving fork or the handle of a wooden spoon into the cavity and stick another fork in the other end of the turkey to gently lift it out.

Question: What is the best way to carve turkey?
-- Ron Grace Drexel Hill, Pa.

Answer: First remove the wishbone. Then cut off the wings and remove the leg thigh joint, separate the leg from the thigh and then slice the thigh, leaving the leg whole for someone to chew on. With the turkey breast side up, make a horizontal cut at the bottom of one side of the breast from front to back. Then start carving thin slices off the breast of the bird starting at the breast bone and working downward. You can also remove the whole breast half and then slice it off the bone.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...