For generations, Americans have sought the secret to cooking the perfect turkey for holiday meals. Judy Harrison, a food safety expert with the Cooperative Extension, offers these tips for oven roasting:
• Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees F.
• Tuck wing tips under the shoulders of the bird for even cooking.
• Place the turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan large enough to hold it and a meat thermometer. Add half of a cup of water to the bottom of the pan.
• If the roasting pan doesn’t have a lid, put a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the turkey for the first 90 minutes to keep it moist.
• Check the internal temperature with a food thermometer at the innermost part of the thigh and wing and at the thickest part of the breast. Turkey meat, including that which remains pink, is safe to eat as long as it reaches at least 165 degrees F.
• Cook turkey to as high as 180 degrees F to remove pink appearance or rubbery texture.
• To prevent overbrowning, put foil over the turkey after it reaches the desired color.
Harrison doesn’t recommend stuffing a turkey. For food safety, she suggests cooking the stuffing outside the bird in a casserole dish.