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Two Turkeys- Cooking Time?

  • macca Nov 16, 2007 04:37 AM
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Every year, I get a large turkey for usually- usually about 30 lbs. This year, we are going with two 16 or 17 pound birds. They will both fit in my oven, but I am really not sure how long to cook them. I had the cooking time for a large bird nailed, but am not really sure how long to cook two birds side by side. I searched the boards, but could not find the answer. Any help is appreciated!!

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  1. Are they both stuffed?

    We always cook two 13 pound stuffed fresh turkeys side by side in two roasting pans. I always plan the cooking time at 1.5 times the normal time (15 minutes per pound times 1.5 = 22.5 minutes per pound) - they are usually ready a little sooner but then they are fine to just sit a little longer.

    I don't know if larger birds would make a difference.........

    8 Replies
    1. re: ElizabethS

      I imagine that the 22.5 minutes per pound is based on 13 pounds, not 26 pounds, correct? That would mean I would need about 6.5 hours cooking time. Sounds reasonable. No problem with letting them rest- will give me a chance mash the potatoes and get all the food on the table. Thanks

      1. re: macca

        i would think your cooking time would actually be pretty close to the same-- you're talking about 2 separate masses, not one combined mass. as such, you might elevate the cooking time a bit to compensate for the quick drop in temperature that your oven will experience at the start of cooking, but not by a whole lot. that might explain why elizabeth's birds are done a touch quicker than she anticipates? as an example, when you cook baked potatoes, the cooking time is the same whether you're doing one or five, right? i would imagine that if your oven has the space to do side by side birds, it's not going to be an issue. my experience in this regard lies with doing two pork butts in the same oven-- but they're in the 12-13 pound range, not 16-17, so i could be way off base. good luck!

        1. re: tacostacoseverywhere

          Thanks- I think you are right. I will plan on 6.5 hours, and hope for the best. Rather have them done a bit early and tent them until dinner.

          1. re: macca

            I think tacos was saying that the time should be more like 22 minutes x 13, without the extra factor of 50%. I'd agree; it may be somewhat longer for two than one, but not 50% longer, as long as there's room for good air circulation around the birds.

            1. re: DGresh

              Gotcha- that's what I meant- I am basing it on 22 minutes per pound- and 17 pounds of turkey (each bird will be about 17 pounds) COmes out to just under 6.5 hours.

            2. re: macca

              i actually don't think you need to tent, either-- there's so much thermal mass there, and you'll end up losing the crispiness of the skin from steam.

          2. re: macca

            Yes - you're right - it is based on the lower weight.....so 50% more than 15 minutes per pound x 13 pounds.......while the other posters may doubt it takes 50% more time, it pretty much does as I've been doing this for 20 years. As mentioned, occassionally they are done earlier but not always. I would add that with the two roasting pans in my oven there isn't what would be described as "good air circulation" - you'd have to have an industrial oven for that. Also perhaps because I start at 15 minutes per pound and that increases to only 22 minutes per pound - I know some people use 20 minutes per pound as the baseline for turkey but that's too dry for me.

            Also - really important that the birds are at room temperature to minimize the drop in temp that taco mentions - good point!

            1. re: ElizabethS

              Hey ElizabethS..So if I'm using 23 minutes per # for a stuffed bird - cooking (2 )9.5# birds, I should use 34.5 minutes? I only ask because the Butterball Lady just told me the same time should be used. Your approach makes more sense. It would have to be more than the approach for one bird. I appreciate your re-assurance.

        2. I just finished baking two turkeys side-by-side and am living evidence that 2 turkeys take longer that a single turkey, but not as long as the combined weights of the two. I roasted two 11-pound turkeys, side-by side. At 15 minutes per pound (at 325 degrees), normally a single 11-pound turkey would take 2 hours and 45 minutes. Our two turkeys took 4 hours and 15 minutes, about 23 minutes per pound. This was in a convection oven, cooking breast down, starting at room temp, covered with foil. The meat thermometer is the ultimate arbiter. FDHA recommends a minimum of 165 degrees. Many recipes call for 185. We settled for 170. It's worth mentioning that different parts of the bird can vary by as much as 20 degrees. When we flipped the bird to be breast up, it was 20 degrees cooler. It took about 30 minutes for the breast to catch up to the thighs.

          1. If the turkeys are not stuffed, the cooking time is still 15 min./pound at 325 degrees. I know this because I READ the response below and woke up at 4 IN THE MORNING to put two birds in the oven. One got done about 20 min sooner than the other, other than that, the time is A LOT CLOSER to the normal cooking time.

            1. When showcasing the turkey for display is not intended or needed for the table, or if time is a factor, whenever I roast two turkeys, I remove the legs and thighs from the carcass, then remove the back off the carcasses, which then effectively gives you the two breasts with rib bones and wings still attached. I then remove the breast bone so the breasts can lay flat on a rack/cookie cooling rack on top of a half sheet pan. This method allows both turkeys to easily fit in the oven and roasting time is reduced to 2.5 to 4.0 hours depending on the temperature you select to roast at. I prefer to roast at 225*, so roasting time is closer to 4.0 hours. The leg and thigh is placed on both sides of the breast, so that it resembles a whole turkey. Wolfgang Puck has a recipe where he roasts the turkey this way @ 450* and the cooking time is reduced to 1.5-2.0 hours depending on the size of bird you select. His recipe also calls for brining with molasses, which results in a dark mahogany color for the skin

              By using this method, ultimately, carving is much easier.....and I use the back bones and necks to make stock for the gravy. You can either roast these parts before you put your turkey in the oven, or pan roast on the stove. If you have a shallow roasting pan, you can place the rack over the pan with stuffing underneath so it catches any drippings for added flavor.

              1. what if your cooking in a convection oven

                1 Reply
                1. re: geraldinewalker

                  Two turkeys will take longer to cook, and the convection feature will reduce the time....they may offset each other, but without specif details given, it's not possible to give a proper estimation of time.