Free Range Turkey Cooking Instructions


Serve your family a high quality free-range turkey that will be the star of the feast. Take the time to prepare the turkey to ensure cooking success and enjoy the natural flavors of a well-cooked bird. Get the most out of your investment in a free-range turkey by protecting the moisture and serving a succulent main dish you are proud of.


Prepare your free-range turkey to ensure a bird that looks and tastes appealing. Plan ahead to thaw frozen birds slowly in the refrigerator. Larger turkeys may take as long as three days to fully thaw. Feel for any hard bumps that may be bits of remaining feather and remove them with clean needle-nose pliers. Dry your entire bird with a clean kitchen cloth or paper towels. Massage seasonings into the bird's inner and outer surfaces. Lift the skin just above the cavity and insert your clean hand inside the pocket to further separate the connection to the flesh. Sprinkle some seasoning on your fingers and reinsert your hand to distribute the spices under the skin. Precook all the ingredients in your stuffing and allow them to get cold in the refrigerator before filling the bird. Free-range turkeys are higher quality birds and will not require additional methods of flavoring. Skip preparations like injecting seasoned butter with a food-safe syringe or soaking the turkey in a salt water brine, as these would overpower the natural flavor of the meat. Cover the top surface of the bird with a sheet of aluminum foil as a final step before oven roasting, but skip this step if frying.

Roast or Fry

Closely monitor your free-range turkey as it cooks to remove it from the heat at just the right moment. Whether you choose to oven roast or deep fry your turkey you need to create an environment with a controlled steady heat source. Preheat your oven or oil to 325 degrees and adjust along the way to keep the heat within a few degree range. Take separate measurements with a thermometer instead of relying on your appliance's built-in temperature controls. Take temperature readings from the bird by carefully inserting your meat thermometer into the turkey's flesh without hitting bone. Check to be sure your stuffing and bird have reached between 150 and 155 degrees before removing them from the heat.


Celebrate the quality of your free-range bird by serving it simply with a few traditional accompaniments. Allow your turkey to rest for 20 minutes after it has been removed from the heat, then slice with an electric knife to cut without shredding the meat. Remove the stuffing and return half of it to the oven in a shallow baking dish to toast on the surface. Make a simple gravy by sprinkling flour on any drippings left in the turkey roasting pan and heating the two with a splash of half and half. Serve each slice with a piece of crispy skin on a puddle of gravy next to some moist or crisped stuffing.

Keywords: free range, turkey, roasting pan

About this Author

Brian Airman is a freelance writer, musician and food blogger with seven years of writing experience. A 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Airman has been published online at eHow, Travels, and Yahoo Shine, with topics focusing on food, restaurants, cooking, and do-it-yourself project guides. Airman has also participated in the nursing program at San Diego State University.

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