Heritage Turkey Cooking Guidelines

1. The day before you plan to cook your turkey, take it out of the packaging and remove the giblets from the cavity (they might be hard to find, but they are there). Place the turkey, uncovered, in the refrigerator as soon as possible. This will allow the skin to dry out. When you are ready to cook, pull the turkey out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature (about 1 hour) prior to cooking.  


2. Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Season with olive oil (or butter), salt, pepper, and your favorite fresh herbs — we recommend rosemary, thyme, and sage — in the cavity, on the outside of the bird, and even in small slits you create throughout the body.


3. Place the turkey and additional herbs on a rack inside a roasting pan in the middle of the oven. The fresh herbs will add lovely aromatics to your turkey and your kitchen.   


4. Ovens differ, but we suggest calculating about 10-15 minutes per pound in a 325°F oven. Smaller birds (up to 14 lb) typically need 10 minutes per pound. Larger birds may need 13-15 minutes per pound. Cook to an internal temperature of 165°F, remembering that the temperature will rise 10-15 degrees after leaving the oven.  


5. Check the oven temperature often, especially as the turkey gets closer to the final desired temperature. For extra crispy skin, turn the oven temperature up to 375°F for the last 15 minutes of cooking. 


6. The turkey is done when a slit in the skin reveals the juice running clear (not red). Please note the turkey breast typically cooks slightly faster than the dark meat, so be careful not to overcook the bird.


7. Always let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving to allow for the redistribution of juices.