Why does my "Fresh" Turkey feel "Frozen"? That's a common question, that can be answered by the USDA guideline for "Fresh" vs. "Frozen" poultry.

First, though, rest assured your Fresh Turkey is ready to-go without the "thawing" process of a frozen bird and the frozenness you feel is called a "hard chill". Your fresh turkey is ready to cook using the below cooking methods and requires no additional thawing.

FRESH: Any raw poultry product whose internal temperature has never been 26°F or below. The product may begin to "hard chill" on the outside as it reaches 29°F and lower.

FROZEN: Any raw poultry product whose internal temperature is 0°F or lower.


Thawing
  • Place turkey in its original wrapping on a tray in the refrigerator several days before cooking.
  • Allow 24 hours in the refrigerator for every five pounds of turkey (for example: 3 days for a 15-pound turkey).
  • Water Bath Method: Completely immerse turkey in a clean sink filled with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes and allow about 30 minutes of thawing time per pound of turkey.

Open Pan Roasting Method
  • Remove neck and giblets from turkey cavity. Pat dry with paper towels and place turkey, breast up on a flat rack in a shallow pan, 2 to 212 inches deep. (Turkey should not be rinsed; rinsing turkey does not help with cooking, it only spreads raw turkey juice in the kitchen)
  • Brush or rub skin with oil to prevent the skin from drying and to enhance the golden color. Butter can also be rubbed underneath the skin of the turkey. To do so, very carefully separate the skin from the meat using your hand or a spoon. Once skin is loosened, rub butter underneath skin.
  • Season the turkey to taste with salt & pepper or your favorite seasoning blend. To enhance the flavor of the pan juices, coarsely chop and fill the turkey cavity with: celery (2-stalks), carrots (2-3 large carrots), onion (medium sized). Add fresh herbs if desired. Recommended fresh herbs for poultry: Sage, Thyme and Rosemary.
  • Place in a preheated 325°F oven, or follow recipe directions.
  • When the turkey is about two-thirds done (or when golden browned), loosely cover the breast and top of drumsticks with a piece of lightweight foil to prevent overcooking.
  • Use this roasting schedule as a guideline; start checking for doneness 12 hour before recommended end times:
  Net Weight  
  (in pounds)  
  Unstuffed  
  (in hours)  
  10 to 18     3 to 312  
  18 to 22     312 to 4  
  22 to 24     4 to 412  
  24 to 30     412 to 5  

  • Remove Turkey when temperature reaches 165°F when measured with a meat thermometer placed deep in the thigh, without touching a bone.
  • Let turkey rest 15 minutes before carving. During the resting time, the bird will continue to cook and the temperature will rise an additional 10 to 15 degrees. The resting period also allows the juices to set.

Cooking Bag Method (Follow instructions on cooking bag box or guidelines below)
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Shake 1 Tablespoon flour in Oven Bag; place in large roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. Spray inside of bag with nonstick spray to reduce sticking.
  • Add vegetables and fresh herbs to oven bag if desired. Remove neck and giblets from turkey. Pat turkey dry. Brush turkey with oil and season to taste.
  • Place turkey in oven bag on top of vegetables.
  • Close oven bag with nylon tie; cut six 1/2-inch slits in top. Tuck ends of bag in pan.
  • Bake 2 to 212 hours for a 12 to 16 lb. turkey, 212 to 3 hours for a 16 to 20 lb. turkey, and 3 to 312 hours for a 20 to 24 lb. turkey, or until meat thermometer reads 165°F taken deep in the thigh without touching a bone.
  • Rest for 15 minutes in the bag before removing to carve. The internal temperature will rise another 10 to 15 degrees to reach the final temperature.

Carving
  • Let the turkey stand, loosely tented with foil, for 15 to 20 minutes for easier carving.

Leftovers

NOTE: Due to food safety concerns and the USDA’s recommendation, our Culinary team advises against stuffing your turkey. For optimal safety, cook stuffing separately.