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Turkey done way ahead of schedule? HELP

I have a 12.7 pound turkey and according to calculation it would take around 90 minute to 120 minute to cook it. However, it is only around 70 minute and the breast meat is already at 161 degree, which is done. Is something wrong?

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  1. You didn't mention how cold it was when it entered the oven, whether or not it was stuffed, or spatchcocked, or what oven temperature you used. Breast meat cooks faster than dark meat, which is why it is commonly overly dry. Cover the bread with aluminum foil, shiny side out, and continue until the dark meat is done. Remember that the temp will rise as the bird takes its covered, pre-carving rest.

    1. Mine cooked in approx. 2 hours (had it timed for 3 hours) so I took it out & set it on a board to rest covered in foil. The breast registered 170 degrees when I took it out of the oven......While it rested I cooked the sides in the oven for 30 mins for the stuffing & carrots, 20 mins for the creamed pearl onions. It was still piping hot when I carved it & it could have rested more actually.

      Your turkey actually seems below temp still....

      1. Just remove the breasts like you suggested on the thread about how to cut turkey breasts horizontally. Wrap them in tin foil and keep warm in a 180F oven, Slice just before serving. Simple. LOL Cooking anything is not just about making "calculations". You could have kept a closer eye on the temp when the breast meat was reading about 130-140F. IMO as the temperature rises in the bird it also accelerates so going from 140 to 150 can take a VERY short time. There's always this Christmas.

        1. My 14 lb stuffed bird also reached temp quicker than it "should" have. I just pulled it out, tented with foil, let it rest, then cranked the oven up (had been at 325) for the rest of the sides to heat (and gave them a starter-boost in the microwave). Worked out fine.

          4 Replies
          1. re: pine time

            I'm curious about how long you allowed?
            I'm making a 14 lb stuffed bird tomorrow and plan on 3 hours since I start it at 425 for ten or 15 minutes.

            1. re: magiesmom

              I planned for 18-20 min/lb. (stuffed bird).

              1. re: pine time

                I find that with a fresh bird, especially a farm one, 15 minutes per pound stuffed is more than enough.

                1. re: magiesmom

                  Lesson learned, thanks. However, this is the same brand I've always used (& fresh every year, too). Ah, sweet mysteries of life...

          2. You guys aren't paying attention. You can't 'calculate' roasting times. You must be engaged enough to check the internal temp closely. Age of bird. Size of bird. Type of bird. Your oven. Just keep 'calculating' and I promise you you'll continue to have problems. Cooking isn't 'science' it's art.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Puffin3

              "You can't 'calculate' roasting times."

              That's right - all food was either over or undercooked until the decade before the second world war.

              All of those million selling cookbooks that give estimated cooking times? They're all lying to you because it just can't be done.

              I somehow manage to roast flesh, fowl and fish to the desired degree of doneness without a thermometer, but that may be because aliens have invaded my oven, since obviously cooking times cannot be calculated, even after roasting dozens, heck hundreds of items.

              I'm a man in my fifties and even I have roasted close to 100 large fowl; if chickens are included sure it's hundreds dare I guess 1,000 or more,. But, remember you can't learn from experience.

              1. re: Puffin3

                While it is true that you can't exactly calculate, in the forty years I have been making turkey, it has held true that an unstuffed bird, fresh, fully at room temp takes ABOUT ten minutes a pound and a stuffed one 13-15 for birds up to 20 lbs. I start checking about an hour before I expect it to be done and I always have juicy turkey. Experience makes for pretty decent calculation.

              2. You can't go by printed or cookbook calculations. Sounds crazy, but it's true.

                I roasted a 20-pound turkey last night, & if I had done it via the directions that came with it, it should have taken around 4+ hours (yikes!). As it was, the bird was perfectly done at 2-1/2 hours. It would have been incinerated at 4 hours.

                I take any roasting instructions with a grain of salt & start testing bird temp with a thermometer around 2 hours in. I also estimate side dish completion for around that time. There are very few Thanksgiving sides that can't wait for an hour.

                1. I totally futzed my 14 lb. bird on the smoker yesterday, my first turkey disaster- put it on at 5 am, smoked until noon, thermapen read 180 at what I thought was the thickest part, but when I went to carve it, after a hour travel time, it looked scary. I had a tiny breast that was fine, & we had a ham, & after another hour in the oven, the wretched turkey was salvaged, just in time for sandwiches...