Ask a Poultry Farmer

Advice from a man with sixty years of experience with chickens, turkeys and waterfowl. With community blogger Dale Wheelock.

Ask a Poultry Farmer: How to cook a backyard turkey

By Dale Wheelock
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

So you got a “backyard turkey” this year, want to make sure you get the most out of its deep, rich and moist flavor?

Use your favorite recipe, but remember these tips.

-- Watch the temperature. Cook your turkey to 165 degrees. Backyard turkeys are a lot more moist so they cook faster. Use a meat thermometer to know for sure when the bird is cooked.

-- If the thighs & legs are not done, separate them from the rest of the bird and put them back in the oven.

-- We don’t stuff our Thanksgiving turkey. I believe they cook better without the stuffing in it. If you do stuff make sure to check the temperature of the stuffing.

-- We never cover the bird or use a roasting bag. There is no need to baste your turkey. 

One thing that we have done is to fully cook the turkey the day or so before, carve it & put it in the fridge. This frees up the kitchen and oven. On the day you're going to eat it, put it in a Nesco with some water. It comes out the same as being roasted the same day.