RECIPE: Cooking Pasture Raised Turkey

October 16, 2021

Before diving into the recipe details, there are two keys to success you want to adhere to when cooking pasture raised turkey vs “organic” or conventionally raised birds. 

1) Plan to cook your bird at 325˚F for 12-15 min. per lb.

2) While the recommended safe cooking temperature of poultry is 165˚F, connoisseurs tell us that 145˚F is a better internal temperature to target. Your dark meat will be fully cooked, and the breast meat will be moist and delicious. Your pasture raised turkey will be incredibly delicious if you don’t overcook it.

Ingredients

Tools

  • Meat Thermometer (very highly recommended!)
  • Roasting pan
  • Roasting rack to assist with lifting the bird after it is cooked
  • If stuffing your bird, you’ll want large metal pins, aka, turkey lacers
  • Kitchen twine
  • Baster
  • Aluminum Foil

Instructions

  1. Leave your turkey in its original plastic bag and fully thaw. If thawing in the refrigerator, place it in a tray to catch fluid that may run through the bag. Plan for 6-7 hrs thaw time per lb of bird.
  2. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  3. Remove the plastic and pull the giblets out of the inside of the carcass. You should find the neck, the heart, and the liver.
  4. Rinse the inside and the outside of the turkey thoroughly. Allow to drain and pat dry.
  5. If stuffing your bird, now is the time. See specific instructions below.
  6. Lay bird on its back, plump breast side facing up.  
  7. Add whole giblets and broth or water in the bottom of the roasting pan. This will help prevent drippings from scorching, and the fluid will be the base of yummy gravy after the bird is cooked.
  8. Create a foil tent to cover your bird while it roasts. Cut a sheet of foil long enough to wrap up and over the bird from one side to the other. Each side should tuck down into the roasting pan, and the foil should make as minimal contact as possible with the turkey. 
  9. Place your turkey in the oven, and cook at 325˚F for 12-15 min per lb of bird. Heavier birds (16 lbs+) will cook faster, so check the internal temperatures early and often.
  10. When checking internal temperature, poke your thermometer in the interior thick part of the turkey thigh. Be careful not to touch the bone.
  11. While the recommended safe cooking temperature of poultry is 165˚F, connoisseurs tell us that 145˚F is a better internal temperature. Estimated cook times for a fully stuffed turkey are as follows:

Small (less than 11.9 lbs) 15 min/lb

Medium (12-14.9 lbs) 14 min/lb

Large (15-16.9 lbs) 14 min/lb

X-Large (17-18.9 lbs) 13 min/lb

Jumbo (19 lbs +) 12 min/lb

Final Steps

  1. Approx. 30 min before your turkey is fully cooked (at an internal temperature of 120˚F, remove the foil and allow the outer skin to brown. 
  2. Baste fluid from pan over the turkey every ten minutes, checking the internal temperature to avoid overcooking.
  3. When your turkey has reached the internal temperature, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest 20-30 min before carving.

Creating a tent over your turkey will help prevent the breast meat from drying out before the rest of the turkey has fully cooked. Don't let the foil touch the skin while it is in the oven or it will stick and peel away at the end.

Pasture raised turkey offers amazing flavor. You are going to love your feast!

Want the herb stuffing?

Jeannie tried this recipe several years ago because she loves cooking with fresh herbs. It turned into a family favorite. This recipe will stuff a 16 lb bird or can bake separately.

Ingredients:

  • 24 oz stale or toasted bread crumbs
  • 1 c melted butter
  • 3 c diced onion
  • 2 c diced celery
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 ½ c chicken stock or bone broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • Extra herbs for garnish

Tools:

  • Garlic press
  • Kitchen twine
  • Turkey pins

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and toss to mix thoroughly.
  2. Fill carcass and neck cavities of bird. Lace cavities closed with turkey pins and kitchen twine or your favorite method.
  3. Alternatively, place stuffing in oven safe container and bake for about 1 hour at 325°F
  4. Enjoy!

Savory amazing herbs are the perfect compliment to a delicious pasture raised turkey. Get stuffed!


Eileen Napier

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