Turkey cooking time & what temp to take out of oven?

I'm having thanksgiving today... don't ask. I have a 19 pound turkey, which I am cooking without stuffing. How long will it need to cook @ 325 degrees? And, what is the temperature that the thermometer should read when I remove it? I have read to take it out @ 161 degrees and that it will go up to the safe temp of 165 while resting. Is this correct?
I plan to raise temp towards end to 400 to brown it, and I'll remove the foil covering at that time.



roryrabbitfield November 24, 2012
Thank you, all. The bird was taken out of the fridge about 1.5 hours before going into the 325 oven. Two years ago, when I last roasted a big turkey, my bird was done WAY earlier than predicted. I think it was 4.5 hours for a 21 pound bird. But that bird was stuffed, and today's is not. So, I am going on maybe a 4 hour cook time. My oven has one of those probes that stays inside, and I am using that. I can see how it is coming along. I'll crank up the oven in the last hour if things are going slowly. I will take notes on cooking time this year so that next year I'll have some info to review. Thanks for the help everyone!
SeaJambon November 24, 2012
Agreed with ChefOno re: desired cooked temp. The formula I was taught was 325 and 20 minutes per pound, so 19 lbs should be just over 6 hours. However, there is no substitute for on the scene observation and temp testing -- my 14 lb bird at 325 finished a good 40 minutes earlier than the formula would indicate. This formula provides a very lovely, crispy skin bird (basted only twice during roasting), so no need to "finish" at a higher temp nor to tent with foil. If your bird looks done prior to the expected time, stick in the meat thermometer and see what it says. If it confirms done, then you are done (allow 20 minutes to rest before carving). The quick high temp cooking isn't necessary to get beautiful crisp skin, but does add a risk of well done outside/bloody inside (did anyone see the most recent Top Chef? I'm still mystified on how she had almost burnt on the outside and bloody on the inside -- didn't she use a thermometer? Back in the kitchen she was fretting that her bird would be dry! Quite the contrary!).
ChefOno November 24, 2012

Roasting times depend upon many factors including the temperature at which the bird goes into the oven. My guess for your bird at the temperatures you've spec'ed would be about 5 hours. Of course that depends a lot on when you decide to crank up the heat.
As for temperature, the targets after resting are 165F breast, 175 thigh. If you're using a calibrated instant-read thermometer, you can pull the bird at 160F. If you're using a "meat" thermometer, pull it at 165F. Older thermometer designs are horribly unreliable and are no longer recommended for use. Take several readings in the breast to make sure you're using the lowest reading, and then probe the thigh.

sdebrango November 24, 2012
I cook my turkey the same way, I made a 19.25 lb turkey on Thanksgiving in a covered roasting pan (graniteware) it took 3.5 hours to come to 150, then I cranked to 450 to brown for 30 minutes end cooking temp after browning was 168 it was perfect.
Monita November 24, 2012
I would start at 400 and cook for 30 minutes then lower the temp to 325 and cook another 1 1/2 - 2 hours more. Cover with foil only if it is getting too dark. The safe remp is 165. You can remove at 161 because it will go up as it resrs
Recommended by Food52