Roasting a Free Range Mary’s Turkey
(Cooking Instructions)

PREPARING FOR OVEN: Remove giblet bag from turkey, rinse and pat dry. Check both cavities for extra parts. Here are the methods for preparing stuffed and unstuffed turkeys.

STUFFED: Prepare your favorite dressing recipe. Never stuff the turkey the night before or several hours before roasting, as the temperature in the birds cavity remains warm long enough for bacteria that causes food poisoning to multiply. You can save time by preparing, measuring and refrigerating the dressing ingredients the night before cooking, but assemble the dressing and stuff the turkey just before putting it in the oven. The stuffing should be loosely packed into the neck and the body cavities. Do not overstuff as the stuffing will expand while cooking. Allow ½ to ¾ cups stuffing per pound of turkey. If your recipe makes more stuffing that the bird will hold, wrap remaining mixture in foil and bake alongside the bird in the pan during the last half hour of roasting. After stuffing, tuck drumsticks back into clamp or skin band. The neck skin should be skewered to back.

UNSTUFFED: Rub salt generously in cavities and, if desired, insert a few pieces of celery, carrot, and onion to improve flavor. Fold neck skin to the back and fasten with skewer. Fasten legs down by tying or tucking under skin band.

MEAT THERMOMETERS: There are two ways to insert a thermometer in turkeys. If a bird is stuffed, insert it through the large meaty muscle of the inside thigh without touching the bone. Unstuffed, insert it in the meaty portion of the breast without touching the bone. When the turkey is done, the reading should be 180 to 185 degrees. When no thermometer is used, the thickest part of the drumstick should feel soft when pressed with thumb and forefinger and the drumstick or the thigh should move easily.

ROASTING THE TURKEY: Prepare turkey as directed and place, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. If the bird is browning too fast, tuck loosely with foil or cover breast with butter soaked cheesecloth. Roast turkey at 325 degrees according to this timetable.



8-12 lbs…… 3-4     hours

12-16 lbs….. 4-5     hours

16-20 lbs….. 5-5½ hours

20-24 lbs….. 5½-6 hours

24-28 lbs….. 6-6½ hours


8-12 lbs…… 2½ -3½ hours

12-16 lbs….. 3½-4½  hours

16-20 lbs….. 4½-5    hours

20-24 lbs….. 5-5½    hours

24-28 lbs….. 5½-6    hours


2-3 lbs…… 1½-2    hours

4-6 lbs….. 1½-2¼   hours

7-8 lbs….. 2¼ -3¼  hours

25% less with convection ovens

Turkey should set at room temperature for about ½ hour before carving.

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