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38 lb turkey?

I just ordered my bird from the farm (Loags Corner in Chesco PA if you're wondering).

We've got a big group again this year, so on a whim, I asked what the biggest bird they have would be.

38 pounds!!!

I didn't need to go that high - we usually have one between 22-24, but I went with a 28 pounder.

Anyone cooking a 38 lb turkey? Would most standard ovens have trouble with this? Certianly, you'd need a big pan - but I wonder if there would be some other special prep as well.

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  1. I think that would be one poor turkey with great potential for some serious drying out and over cooking and probably tough too. If you need 2-24 lbs you are better off with 2 12 lb. birds.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Candy

      I know a lot of people who cook a 16-18 pounder, plus a turkey breast in addition. Luckily, I've got plenty of dark meat lovers in my family.

    2. Geez, that's huge! It's like cooking a toddler! ;-) Only joking!

      With something that large, it would be wise to take the legs off and roast them separate from the breast, otherwise you're looking at something too massive to cook properly in a regular oven.

      1. I think you'd be best served doing 2, 15lb turkeys.
        You're bound to end up with a dry bird or it taking the better part of two days to cook.

        DT

        1. What you would do in a standard oven is cut the bird into halves and roast on two levels, switching positions.

          1. My inlaws raise turkeys at their place.. usually just 2 or 3 a year but they get huge. Then largest they ever cooked was a 65 lb bird all dressed out. The largest I ever helped them cook was a 55 pounder. You really earn your meal when you have to tackle on of those beasts. They have a propane oven that they have modified just to cook birds that large. My father in law modified a stainless comercial roasting pan to just barely fit in the oven. They take all the racks out and just have some stand offs on the bottom of the oven to allow air to circulate. Even with the custom pan and no oven racks things are a fairly tight fit. they never stuff the bird and usually have to empty the roasting pan several times over the course of the day to prevent it overflowing. Other than the novelty of cooking such a massive bird it is almost impossible to get good results. because it takes over 8 hours to cook such a massive bird, when it is finally cooked a lot of the meat will be fairly dry, i imagine this can be a big problem for any bird 25 pounds or so and up. It is also difficult to get even cooking because there just isnt enough air circulation in the oven with the massive beast in place for even cooking. At home when i need to feed lots of people i just do multiple smaller birds.

            For what it's worth i think the average time we are finally able to sit down and eat turkey at my inlaws is about 9 at night assuming we start prep work around 8am.