Turkey Roasting

Many customers ask how to best roast Joe’s Farm Fresh Turkey. The short answer is that there are many ways to cook your bird (deep fry, bag, brine, oven, grill, Green Egg…) and we don’t want you to abandon your favorite. Here is what we consider to be the perfect way to cook Joe’s Farm Fresh Turkey. It’s been used and proven successful by our customers for many years.

Step One

Prepare your Joe’s Farm Fresh Turkey

A word on brining: We are not against brining a Joe's Farm Fresh Turkey, but if you do so we suggest you do so because you want to impart a particular flavor to your bird, not to make your turkey juicier. Joe's Farm Fresh Turkey is naturally juicy and the best way to guarantee it hits your plate that way is to NOT overcook your bird.  That being said, we do offer brining kits and bags in-store, ask us how to use them we'd be happy to help!

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, any cooler you risk the chance of bacteria multiplying, and any hotter you may dry out your bird!

2. Rinse the turkey (inside and out) with cold running water. REMOVE THE GIBLETS AND THEIR BAGS FROM THE BODY CAVITY AND THE NECK CAVITY! Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.

3. Slice 2 large red apples and combine them in a glass bowl with one cup of water and a cinnamon stick.  Microwave this mix on high for 5 minutes, drain off the water and place the cinnamon stick and the apples into the cavity of the turkey. Add to the cavity, 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and 6 fresh or dried sage leaves (fresh is best if you can find it!).

4. Tuck in the bird's wings and brush or rub the turkey liberally with canola oil or an extra virgin olive oil.  If you like you can season the skin of your turkey with a rub, or just plain kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  If you want a very crispy-skinned turkey you can place your turkey, post seasoning, uncovered in your refrigerator for 1 hour prior to cooking to take some moisture out of the skin.

5. Don’t reach for the foil to cover the breast! Long cooking under foil holds in moisture so the breast tends to stew in its own juices rather than roast by dry heat. Stewing the breast will actually overcook and dry out the breast.  So here is the secret, soak a four-layer piece of cheesecloth in melted unsalted (Plugra) butter and use it to cover the breast. The texture of the cheesecloth holds fat on the surface but the bird still breathes and browns through the cloth’s open weave.

6. Lay your turkey into a roasting rack, inside a low and wide roasting pan…breast side down (the cheesecloth will not fall off).  Pour one cup of water or turkey/chicken stock into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Step Two

Roasting your Joe’s Farm Fresh Turkey

The approximate roasting times for your turkey at 325 degrees are listed below. However, we highly recommend cooking by internal temperature rather than time.

We suggest you use this chart as a guideline to time your sides rather than to perfectly cook your bird.

We do not recommend stuffing your bird (it presents not only bacterial nightmares, but you also have to cook the stuffing to a higher temperature and it cooks the bird too much in our opinion

Put the stuffing on the stove or in the oven!) but include times for your use just in case.

Finally, these times are if you are using a Joe’s Farm Fresh Turkey, please note how short they are compared to birds that are not farm fresh! Again, plan on using these times as a guideline and start checking your thermometer 45 minutes prior to the suggested cooking times.

Where you place your thermometer is important. Place the thermometer in the thigh but on the backside (not the front skin side) next to the breast in the thighs thickest portion. Make sure the thermometer is not touching any part of the thigh bone. If you have a probe thermometer its quite easy to place the probe and still cook your turkey upside down as we recommend. For those who are using a standard quick read thermometer, you will need to turn the pan a bit to get the correct angle behind yet in the thigh.

Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey

Stuffing must reach 165 degrees, so the bird tends to over cook.

Turkey Weight Hours
6 to 8 pounds  breast 1-3/4 to 2 hours
8 to 12 pounds 2  to 2-3/4 hours
12 to 16 pounds 2-3/4   to 4 hours
16 to 20 pounds 4  to 5 hours
20 to 25 pounds 5 to 5-1/2 hours

Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey

Our recommendation! Internal temperature of 155 degrees in back of thigh.

Turkey Weight Hours
6 to 8 pounds turky breast 1  to 2 hours
8 to 12 pounds 1-1/4 to 2 -1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 2 1/2 to 3-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 1/2  to 5 hours

Every 30 minutes of roasting, baste your bird with pan juices. As you are basting, rotate your pan ¼ turn in the oven. Cook your turkey until your thermometer reads 155 -160 degrees. (Yes, we know that new safe cooking guidelines say to cook your bird to 165 degrees (they used to say 180!), but remember that your turkey will continue to cook after removed from the oven and it's temperature will increase by 10 degrees while resting.

Remember too that the breast will cook more quickly than the thigh, so if you cook to a 165 degree thigh temperature your turkey breast will be dry as dust! To prevent the cheesecloth from sticking, when the turkey is almost done, baste it as you remove the cheesecloth so that the skin does not tear. Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest very loosely covered with foil for 15 to 20 minutes.


Step Three

Carving your Joe’s Farm Fresh Turkey

We think this video does a nice job explaining how to carve your bird. You may have to watch an ad first but it’s worth the wait! Notice how pink the bird is, that’s because his turkey is perfectly cooked!


Here are some written instructions for your use too in case you’re not a video person.

1. Turn the turkey on a carving plate or board, breast side up. Always cut the dark meat before the white meat as it will stay moist longer.

2. Carve the leg quarter off (thigh and leg) by cutting through the skin that attaches the leg quarter to the breast, pull-down and separate/cut the leg quarter from the body.

3. Cut the drumstick (leg) from the thigh by first feeling for the joint between the two and cutting straight down at that joint.

4. Cut the breast from the carcass by placing your knife on top of the bird and carving down, following the breast bone all the way down and to the side of the bird (follow the wishbone). The breast will fall off and then slice it against the grain, and fairly thick.

5. Plate up your bird, serve and enjoy!