Turkey 101: How to Cook, How to Carve

Are you a turkey virgin? Never cooked a bird, but you think it's time to learn?

You're not alone. "Good Morning America" chef Sara Moulton and Butterball.com have the lowdown on cooking a turkey!

Below are step-by-step cooking and carving directions from Butterball.com.

How to Cook a Turkey

1. If turkey is frozen, thaw in the refrigerator or cold water. When ready to cook, remove the wrapper. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Remove the neck from the body cavity and the giblets from the neck cavity. Drain the juices and blot the cavities with paper towels.

3. Just before roasting, stuff the neck and body cavities lightly, if desired. Turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place. Return legs to tucked position, if untucked. No trussing is necessary.

4. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a flat rack in an open roasting pan about 2 inches deep. A handy, "turkey lifter" comes with each Butterball turkey. Place this special string cradle on a rack, then place the turkey on top and bring the loops up around the turkey. Do this before putting the turkey in the oven and when lifting the cooked turkey from the pan, use the loops as handles.

5. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of the thigh next to the body, not touching the bone.

6. Brush the skin with vegetable oil to prevent the skin from drying. Further basting is unnecessary. (Moulton uses butter.)

7. Wash preparation utensils, work surfaces and hands in hot, soapy water after contact with uncooked turkey and juices.

8. Roast at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. To calculate roasting time click here. When the skin is light golden, about 2/3 done, shield the breast loosely with lightweight foil to prevent overcooking.

9. Check for doneness 1/2 hour before turkey is expected to be done. Turkey is fully cooked when the thigh's internal temperature is 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The thickest part of the breast should read 170 degrees Fahrenheit and the center of the stuffing should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

10. When done let the turkey stand for 20-30 minutes before carving.

How to Carve a Turkey

For quality, let the turkey stand for 20-30 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily. Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities. To help make carving easier, use a straight and sharpened knife.

1. Cut band of skin holding drumsticks. Grasp end of drumstick. Place knife between drumstick/thigh and body of the turkey and cut through skin to joint. Remove entire leg by pulling out and back, using the point of the knife to disjoin it. Separate the thigh and drumstick at the joint.

2. Insert fork in upper wing to steady turkey. Make a long horizontal cut above wing joint through to body frame. Wing may be disjointed from body, if desired.

3. Slice straight down with an even stroke, beginning halfway up the breast. When knife reaches the cut above the wing joint, slice will fall free.

4. Continue to slice breast meat, starting the cut at a higher point each time.

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