Fowl Play: Thanksgiving Turkey Tips From a Poultry Expert

November 27, 2019

When exactly is the right time to start preparing the Thanksgiving fixings? A local poultry expert says right now.

If you can, Dean Frankenfield of Godshall's Poultry in Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market recommends picking up a fresh turkey.

“You can tell by the skin if it's nice and moist and it's a little pink,” he said. “That's a good sign of a fresh turkey.”

But he understands a lot of people will buy frozen turkeys from the grocery store. If that's the case, give yourself some extra time.

“When you're dealing with a frozen turkey, you need to think about time and thawing it and preparing it for the oven,” he said. “You need to get it out of the freezer, I'd say at least two days prior, and put it in the refrigerator and start the thawing process.”

When you're ready to cook your turkey, start early. Frankenfield said it'll take about 15 to 18 minutes per pound to cook. Make sure it's cooked all the way through by checking the internal temperature of the bird.

“I recommend everyone has a meat thermometer in their kitchen,” he added. “Utilize that because you really are looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees.”

If you’re feeling spontaneous, try Frankenfield’s trick.

“We roast ours upside down because the fattest part of the turkey is on the back and the backbone and the driest part of the turkey is the breast, so we let the juices run right down into the breast. It keeps the breast really nice and moist.”

For more tips, alternative birds for the holiday and the popularity of Friendsgiving, listen to the KYW Newsradio original podcast What’s Cooking below or on the RADIO.COM app.