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There is nothing like a pasture-raised turkey. If you received your turkey from Walden, Thank you! We appreciate your commitment to supporting our mission of supplying you with locally, nutritiously and sustainably raised poultry from New England and New York.  As pasture-raised turkeys have richer dark meat and smaller breasts than their industrial brethren they require slightly different cooking methods.

We have outlined some of our essential steps and best tricks below.

The Most Important Tip!

Pasture-raised turkeys will cook much faster than you might be used to!

We recommend cooking to 140-150 F degrees to ensure meat is not dry. We have experienced cook times as much as 1 hour less than traditional birds! Note: This is lower than the USDA’s recommended temp. of 180 F degrees, so please do so at your own risk.

What size turkey do you need?

Plan for 2lbs of bird weight per person. This gives enough to have leftovers. If you are having a large group, or want extra leftovers, think about supplementing with breasts.

How to thaw your turkey?

We recommend simply allowing the bird to rest, unwrapped in your refrigerator giving time for any excess water to leave the turkey. We suggest 1 day for every 4 lbs of bird.

What is the best brining method?

We feel that the best option is to use a dry brine. The NYT has a fantastic dry brine recipe here.  Be sure to change the plate and/or paper towel underneath the bird to remove excess moisture as it collects (at least daily).  DO NOT forget to rinse off the excess salt before cooking!

Our Best Cooking Tips

A few tips from us:

  • The worst thing you can do is overcook!  If you take it out early, you can always temp it and place it back in the oven.  There is no going back if you overcook!
  • Never stuff your turkey the night before. This can encourage bacteria growth.
  • Allow the bird to come to room temperature before roasting. This is important because it ensures the meat will cook at the same rate. Plan to allow a few hours for the whole bird to get from refrigerator temp to room temp.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous try a Spatchcocked or grilled turkey this year.
  • Don’t feel that you have to baste, but if you do, render down some Walden lard with herbs and use that to give your bird extra flavor!
  • Always let the bird rest for at least 30 minutes after roasting before carving – this helps reduce the moisture loss when you cut it!
  • COOKING TIME: Temperature is much more important than time, but as a general rule begin checking the temp of the turkey after 10-15 minutes per pound.
  • COOKING TEMPS: The best method is to crisp the skin at 450 and then turn the oven down low and slow at 300-350.  If you have more time, after the hot phase you can go as low as 250 and it will take several hours, but the result will be worth it!

Spatchcocked Turkey

An adventurous way to cook your turkey this year!

Read On Serious Eats

Dry Brine

The easiest way to get the most flavourful bird.

Get the recipe

Parchment Paper Method

A classic way to maintain moisture and keep your bird from drying out.

Read On TIME

Walden Chorizo Stuffing

A fantastic complement to your turkey, made with Walden chorizo.

Get the recipe