Turkey Facts


The turkey is a large bird from North American, it has white plumage and a bare, wattled head and neck and is very dumb, but like the English Pheasant, it gets very smart when the shooting season starts, as I found out from expedience of turkey shooting in the in the US.

Turkeys which have been injected or marinated with a solution containing butter or other edible fat, broth, stock or water plus spices, flavour enhances and other approved substances are normally labelled as "basted", also the amount of added water should be clearly marked on the label.



Put turkey products in a refrigerator that maintains a temperature of no more than 5C, or freeze at 20C. Freezer storage times are for best quality. If frozen continuously, turkey products will be safe indefinitely.

Turkey Item Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Fresh whole turkey 1 to 2 days 12 months
Fresh turkey parts 1 to 2 days 9 months
Minced turkey giblets 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Cooked turkey 3 to 4 days 4 months
Cooked turkey dishes 3 to 4 days 4 to 6 months
Turkey broth, gravy 1 to 2 days 2 to 3 months


Defrosting the Safe way

There are two recommend ways to defrost turkeys: in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave. Never defrost turkey on the counter or in other locations. It's best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Allow about 1 day for every 5 pounds of turkey to thaw in the refrigerator.

Turkey may be defrosted in cold water in its airtight packaging or in a leak-proof bag. Submerge the bird or cut up parts in cold water, changing the water every 20 minutes to be sure it stays cold.


What Colour should a Turkey be?

Raw turkey skin colour is off white to cream-coloured. Under the skin the colour ranges from a pink to a lavender blue depending on the amount of fat just under the skin. When testing for doneness of cooked turkey, rubbery pink meat and pink juices are a sign that the turkey needs more cooking time.

If the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 75C to 78C, and the juices have no pink colour and the meat is tender but has a pink colour, it should be safe to eat. The pink colour in safely cooked turkey is due to the haemoglobin in the tissues which can form a heat-stable colour.


Safe Cooking

It is recommends the internal temperature, as registered on a meat thermometer must reach a minimum of 83C in the innermost part of the thigh before removing from the oven. However, all bacteria are killed at 75C.

It is recommend that stuffing be cooked outside the bird. If it is stuffed, the centre of the stuffing must reach 75C. My recommendation is to cook the stuffing separately.


Roasting Turkey

Timetables for cooking are only estimates. The only reliable method of testing for doneness is a accurate probe thermometer. , Here are some estimated times based on a fresh or thawed turkey starting out at about 5C in a in preheated 165-180C grill or oven.

The turkey producers recommend 85C, . When the temperature in the centre of the thigh reaches 80C, take the bird out and let it rest for 12-15 minutes before carving.

Product Weight Unstuffed Timing Suffed Timing
Breast, Half 0.9 to 1.3 kg 50 to 60 minutes Not applicable
Breast, Whole 1.7 to 2.7 kg 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours Not applicable
Breast, Whole 2.7 to 3.6 kg 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 hours 3 to 3 1/2 hours
Whole turkey 3.6 to 5.4 kg 2 3/4 to 3 hours 3 to 3 1/2 hours
5.4 to 6.3 kg 3 to 3 3/4 hours 3 1/2 to 4 hours
6.3 to 8.2 kg 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours 4 to 4 1/4 hours
8.2 to 9 kg 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
9 to 10.8 kg 4 1/2 to 5 hours 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours
Drumsticks 340g to 450g each 2 to 2 1/4 hours Not applicable
Thighs 3340g to 450g each 1 3/4 to 2 hours Not applicable
wing drumettes 170g to 225g each 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours Not applicable