New to this confusing turkey preparation process? Or are you a seasoned veteran?
Whether this is your first turkey or your 30th reach out to our Member Experience Team as you’re planning your meal so we can point you in the right direction! Contact us at 978-631-1135 or members@waldenlocalmeat.com

turkey tips page header

There is nothing like a pasture-raised turkey (read why here)! 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.

BUILD A THANKSGIVING SHARE

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

We recommend removing from the oven when you are between an internal temp of 155 F degrees to ensure
meat is not dry. The bird will naturally rise another 10 degrees or so from carryover cooking. 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.

preparing turkey
overhead turkey

TURKEY FAQ & TIPS

WHAT SIZE TURKEY DO I 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.

WHAT IS BRINING?

Brining is the process of infusing the meat with added flavor and re-distributing moisture. This can be done with a dry brine, aka a seasoned rub, or a wet brine where the meat is submerged in a brine solution. Walden carries a local dry brine that can be used for either method. The meat absorbs extra liquid and salt, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful final dish. Since it’s so large, a turkey ideally needs to be brined overnight–for about 12 hours.

WHY SHOULD I BRINE MY TURKEY?

This technique is particularly great for lean cuts of meat that tend to dry out during cooking. Fresh turkeys truly benefit from brining to bring out the most moisture while cooking.

WHAT IS THE BEST BRINING METHOD?

We feel that the best option is to use a dry brine. 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! We carry a local dry brine that can be used for either method, which you can add to your Thanksgiving Share here.

GOOD GRAVY!

If you do overcook the bird, you have better have copious amounts of gravy to lather it with! Here is a very simple foolproof recipe: melt 1/3 of a cup of butter (ideally unsalted) and slowly whisk in 1/3 cup of flour. Reduce heat to low and stir for about 2 minutes until golden brown. In a second saucepan, bring 6 cups of turkey drippings (or a combination of chicken stock and turkey drippings with the fat skimmed off) to a boil. Whisk in the mix of butter and flour to get to your desired thickness, season with salt and pepper, and you’re ready to go! Add herbs like rosemary, garlic, thyme, parsley and/or sage as you like!

cutting the turkey

FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES TO
COOK A PERFECT BIRD:

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.

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 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! We recommend removing from the oven when you are between an internal temp of 155 F degrees to ensure meat is not dry. The bird will naturally rise another 10 degrees or so from carryover cooking. 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.

BUILD A THANKSGIVING SHARE

TURKEY TIP LINE

Give our turkey tipline a call (even on Thanksgiving day). We want to make
sure you have the best turkey for your day of thanks.
978-631-1135

Handdrawn Turkey