New to this turkey preparation process? Or are you a seasoned veteran?
Whether this is your first turkey or your 30th, reach out to our Member Experience Team as you’re planning your meal and we can point you in the right direction!
Contact us at 978-362-8642 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There is nothing like a pasture-raised turkey! If you received your turkey from Walden, thank you! We appreciate your commitment to supporting our mission of supplying you with locally, nutritiously and sustainably raised poultry from New England and New York.
Pasture-raised turkeys are leaner than industrially-raised birds. We've included some tips on how to prepare a rich and succulent bird below! You can also read about what makes our turkeys so special here!
Pasture-raised turkeys will cook much faster than you might be used to!
We recommend removing your turkey from the oven and tenting with foil when it reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees F to ensure meat is not dry. The bird will naturally rise another 10 degrees or so from carryover cooking. We have experienced cook times as much as 1 hour less than industrial birds! Note: This is lower than the USDA’s recommended temperature of 165 degrees F, so please do so at your own risk.
FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES TO COOK A PERFECT BIRD:
Thawing your turkey.
When thawing your turkey, allow for 24 hours per 5lbs of meat if you’d like to thaw the bird in your refrigerator. You can also use the cold water method to speed up the thaw process. For the cold water method, leave the turkey in its original wrapping and submerge it in a sink (or container) full of cold water. It is important that the water be cold so that the turkey stays at a safe temperature. You should change the water every 30 minutes. With this method, allow 30 minutes of defrosting time per pound, so a 16 pound turkey will take 8 hours to thaw. Once the turkey has thawed, cook it immediately.
Don't forget! Turn down the temp in the fridge when storing your turkey - these birds will appreciate the colder temps (around 40 degrees) until they are brought out to cook!
The worst thing you can do is overcook!
If you take it out early, you can always temp it and place it back in the oven. There is no going back if you overcook!
Never stuff your turkey the night before.
This can encourage bacteria growth. Allow the bird to come to room temperature before roasting. This is important because it ensures the meat will cook at the same rate. Plan to allow a few hours for the whole bird to get from refrigerator temp to room temp.
Brine your bird.
We highly recommend using a dry brine on your fully thawed pasture raised turkey! A simple mix of kosher salt (3 tablespoons), light brown sugar (1 tablespoon), dried herbs (1 ½ teaspoons, thyme, sage, rosemary or a blend), ground black pepper (¾ teaspoon), is all you need to create an amazing brine that will yield flavorful meat and crispy skin! Try our pre-mixed brine here!
Don’t feel that you have to baste,
but if you do, render down some Walden lard with herbs and use that to give your bird extra flavor!
Always let the bird rest for at least 30 minutes
after roasting before carving – this helps reduce the moisture loss when you cut it!
Temperature is much more important than time, but as a general rule begin checking the temperature of the turkey after 10 minutes per pound.
The best method is to crisp the skin at 450 degrees F and then turn the oven down low and slow at 300-350 degrees F. If you have more time, after the hot phase you can go as low as 250 degrees F and it will take several hours, but the result will be worth it! We recommend removing from the oven when you are between an internal temperature of 155 degrees F to ensure meat is not dry. The bird will naturally rise another 10 degrees or so from carryover cooking. We have experienced cook times as much as 1 hour less than traditional birds!
Note: This is lower than the USDA’s recommended temperature of 165 degrees F, so please do so at your own risk.