All About Turkey

Thawing & Cleaning


It is very important to never thaw a turkey at room temperature. Leave the turkey in the original package and choose one of the following methods to thaw your turkey:

Refrigerator Method

This method is ideal as it keeps the meat cold until it is completely defrosted. Place your turkey on a tray in the refrigerator, allowing 5 hours per pound (10 hours/kg) defrosting time

Cold Water Method

In a large container, cover the turkey completely with cold water. Change water at least every hour, allowing 1 hour per pound (2 hours/kg) defrosting time.

Frozen Pre-stuffed Turkeys

If you are purchasing a frozen, pre-stuffed turkey, DO NOT THAW! Cook from frozen state and check product label for further instructions.


  • Always wash hands thoroughly in hot soapy water before preparing foods and handling raw meat
  • Remove plastic wrap from thawed turkey
  • Remove neck and giblets from body cavity
  • Rinse turkey well inside and out with cold water (optional)
  • Thoroughly pat dry with paper towels
  • Do not let raw meat juices touch ready-to-eat foods, either in the refrigerator or during preparation
  • Do not put cooked foods on the same plate that held raw product
  • Wash utensils, dishes and surfaces used for cutting turkey with hot, soapy water, then rinse using
    a sanitizing solution of one capful of chlorine bleach in a sink full of warm water
  • Thoroughly rinse surfaces, dishes and utensils with hot water
  • Keep cutting board and utensils in good repair as they can harbour bacteria inside cracks and crevices

Roasting Times

Approximate roasting times in hours. Cooking temperature: 325°F (160°C).

Weight Stuffed Unstuffed BBQ – Unstuffed
(medium heat)
6 to 8 lbs
(3.0 to 3.5 kg)
3 to 3 ¾ 2 ½ to 2 ¾ 1 to 1 ¾
8 to 10 lbs
(3.5 to 4.5 kg)
3 ¼ to 3 ½ 2 ¾ to 3 1 ¼ to 2
10 to 12 lbs
(4.5 to 5.5 kg)
3 ½ to 3 ¾ 3 to 3 ¼ 1 ½ to 2 ¼
12 to 16 lbs
(5.5 to 7.0 kg)
3 ¾ to 4 3 ¼ to 3 ½ 2 to 2 ¾
16 to 22 lbs
(7.0 to 10.0 kg)
4 to 4 ½ 3 ½ to 4 2 ½ to 3 ½

our turkey is done when…

A meat thermometer inserted in the inner thigh reads 180°F (82°C) for a stuffed turkey or 170°F (77°C) for an unstuffed turkey.

The legs move easily when twisted and the juices run clear.

When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven or barbecue. Cover with foil and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

*Oven cooking times may vary.

Stuffing Tip & Recipes


  • One slice of bread yields ½ cup (125mL) of coarse bread crumbs or 1 cup (250mL) of loosely packed ½ inch (1 cm) cubes.
  • Allow ½ to ¾ cup (125 to 175mL) of stuffing per 1 lb of turkey.
  • Avoid packing the stuffing since it expands while cooking.
  • Stuff the turkey just before roasting. DO NOT stuff the day before. Moistened stuffing does not keep well. If desired, the ingredients may be prepared the day before and combined just before the turkey is to be stuffed.
  • DO NOT stuff a fresh turkey before freezing and do not freeze a cooked turkey with stuffing still inside.
  • Remove leftover stuffing from turkey immediately and keep covered in the refrigerator. Use within three days. Reheat just enough stuffing for one meal.
  • Cooked stuffing can be frozen up to four weeks. Heat without thawing (or thaw in the refrigerator first). Use at once.
  • Save cooking time: place stuffing in covered baking dish and cook during the last half hour of the turkey roasting time.

For an easy way to remove stuffing from the cavity, prepare the turkey for the oven, line the cavity with cheesecloth, leaving excess at the opening, and stuff the turkey as usual. After roasting, simply pull the cheesecloth out of the turkey to remove the stuffing!



  • 1/4 (50 mL) cup butter or margarine
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 9 cups (2.25 L) day-old coarse bread crumbs, or 1/2 inch (1 cm) cubes
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) each dried sage and savoury
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
  • 1/2-1 cup (125-250 mL) chicken broth or giblet stock


Melt butter in large skillet. Add onions and celery; cook, stirring until tender; about 5 minutes. Pour over bread in a large bowl. Add seasonings; stir until well combined. Gradually stir in broth until just moistened, but not wet.

Apple: Add 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) chopped apple to bread mixture.
Sausage: Brown 1 lb (500 g) sausage meat. Drain and add to bread mixture.
Mushroom: Sauté 1 lb (500 g) sliced mushrooms in a little butter and add to bread mixture.
Oyster: Add 1 cup (250 mL) whole or chopped cooked oysters to bread mixture. Oyster broth may be substituted for all or part of the chicken broth.
Nut: Add 1 to 2 cups (250 to 500 mL) chopped nuts, pecans or walnuts to bread mixture.

Basic Turkey Gravy

When your turkey is done, pour the drippings into a bowl, leaving all brown particles in the pan. Let the fat rise to the top and skim off. Set juices to the side. Measure 1/4 cup (50mL) of fat back into the roasting pan and place over low heat.

Blend in 1/4 cup (50mL) of flour and cook until slightly brown and bubbly. Stir in 2 cups (500mL) of liquid (reserved juices, plus broth, milk, or water) until smooth. Scrape the brown particles from the bottom of the pan and cook, stirring until the mixture is thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

Note: Use turkey gravy within two days. Be sure to bring the gravy to a boil before serving.