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Nov 22, 2007 07:07 AM

Avoiding the dry turkey

At what internal thigh temperature is the turkey considered cooked? I used to time my turkeys and found a wide variety of results in terms of dryness. I prefer to go with internal temp but am reading a wide variety of acceptable temps. It looks like 165 is the low end which is what I'm thinking of using. I also read that the turkey will continue to rise in temperature 10 degrees once removed..... Advice?

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  1. The best way to ensure a juicy turkey is to brine it. Too late for that, though.

    You'll be fine pulling the bird out at 165. Any lower and the meat near the ribcage and the hip joint is going to be pretty pink. Not a safety issue (salmonella is killed by 10 minutes at 140), but the texture isn't the best. If you let the meat get over 170 or so before removing the bird from the oven, you're just drying things out unnecessarily.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alanbarnes

      Thank you for your help. I did want to brine but my husband has to limit his salt and we debated as to how much salt is absorbed into the turkey even though you rinse it clean............

      Not using stuffing (inside the bird) helps with keeping the turkey moist. You can make the same stuff, toss it with broth + an egg, and bake it in a buttered baking dish or raosting pan instead.

      I'm a believer in starting it upside-down and just cooking it right-side up for long enough to get it brown.

      Trussing it can lessen the need to cover the extremities with tin foil, though I still find myself using foil to get to a safe temperature on the main part of the bird.

      Of course, baste the hell out of it.

      Happy T'giving!

      Good lord, I;m using subtitles. Yeah, I might be a little overtired.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Mawrter

        How does basting the turkey -- which only affects the skin -- ensure moistness? If anything, it seems like constantly opening and closing the oven will cause the bird to take longer to get to the desired temp, making dry meat more likely.

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          If the bird cooks slower the internal temperature will rise at a reduced rate. This increases the odds we catch the turkey at the right temperature and not overcook it.
          I only baste the breast. Evaporation of the baste slows the breast down and gives the dark meat a chance to get to the proper temperature before the breast overcooks.

        2. re: Mawrter

          Absolutely roast the bird upside down for about 2/3 the time. It really helps keep the breast moist. If you worry about flipping it, use clean potholders so you get a good grip, then toss them in the wash.