Dacor Kitchen Appliances: FAQ and Tips for Turkey and Holiday Cooking

Dacor frequently asked questions

Turkey and Holiday Cooking Tips and FAQ

Turkey and Holiday Cooking Tips and FAQ

You have holiday cooking questions: How long will the turkey take to cook?  Do I need to baste the turkey?  Can I cook desserts and side dishes in the oven at one time?  Dacor has the answers and they’re just a click away!  Or, if you prefer visual instruction, click here for a brief tutorial on using convection and preparing your holiday turkey.

Can I cover my turkey with aluminum foil?

Answer:

When cooking in convection, it is best to leave the turkey uncovered so that it benefits from the convection sear. However, if the wings and legs begin to brown too much, you certainly can use foil to cover these areas.

Can I use the time delay feature on this oven to cook my turkey?

Answer:

We do not recommend using the time delay function on your oven to cook your turkey. It is hard to keep protein foods out of the temperature danger zone (40-140°F). In using time delay, you are allowing a raw turkey to sit in the oven for an extended period of time, which allows bacteria to grow and a prospective food-borne illness to occur.

Do I have to truss the turkey?

Answer:

To help it retain its shape, you may want to truss the turkey. Especially if you are stuffing the turkey, it tends to make things a little more manageable. Take cotton butcher's twine and tie the legs together.

Do I need to adjust the convection temperature down when baking multiple pies in the oven?

Answer:

It is recommended that you still lower the temperature by 25°F, and increase the baking time to achieve optimal results. Increasing temperature may cause the pies to darken quicker on the crusts than set in the middle.

Do I need to baste the turkey while cooking?

Answer:

No, you do not need to baste. Convection ovens will sear the turkey very quickly, locking in the juices.

Do I need to let the oven preheat before placing the turkey inside?

Answer:

Yes, the oven needs to come to a full preheat before placing the turkey inside. During preheat, more than just the rear element comes on to preheat the oven quickly. Your turkey may burn if it is placed in during preheat.

Do I start the turkey breast-side up or breast-side down?

Answer:

Breast-side up, and there's no need to flip a hot turkey during the cooking process. Just leave it breast-side up for the entire roasting process.

How can I best “stage” my holiday cooking?

Answer:

Start by roasting the turkey first. While the turkey is cooking, use this time to cook any cooktop foods, such as mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc. Hold these on low or on a simmer plate until service. The turkey will need to sit for about 15-20 minutes after it comes out of the oven before carving. Use this time to cook casseroles and breads.

How can I best use my warming oven for a large holiday meal?

Answer:

The warming oven can hold any cooked casserole. Cover it with foil, and set the dial at about setting 4 or 5. You can also carve the turkey and place on a large platter, cover the platter with foil, then use setting 4 or 5 to keep warm. It is best not to hold food in the warming oven for more than 4 hours after it has been cooked. For breads, use setting 2 or 3.

How do I best use the oven timers?

Answer:

Your Dacor® Oven has two timers that are extremely handy for large meals. Set them to remind you when to place the 2nd and 3rd dishes in the oven or on the cooktop.

How do I cook a casserole in the convection microwave?

Answer:

First, select the "Preheat" button. Enter the recipe's original time to preheat and press "Start". Once the oven beeps and says, "Preheat Over, Place Food in Oven," place the covered or uncovered casserole in the microwave on the bottom turntable. Select "Convection", then re-enter the casserole's temperature. Enter time, then press "Start". Convection is the recommended mode for casseroles in a convection microwave. If you have two casseroles that have the same approximate cooking time and temperature, you can place one on the high rack and place the other on the turntable. Your cooking time may increase by 5-10 minutes if cooking two casseroles at the same time.

How long will it take for the turkey to cook?

Answer:

UNSTUFFED TURKEY

# of pounds Recommended mode Recommended temperature (ºF) # of hours
10-18 Pure Convection™ 350 2 - 2 1/2
18-22 Pure Convection™ 350 2 1/2 - 3
22-24 Convection Bake™ 350 3 - 3 1/2
24-30 Convection Bake™ 325 3 1/2 - 4

STUFFED TURKEY

# of pounds Recommended mode Recommended temperature (ºF) # of hours
10-18 Pure Convection™ 350 2 ¾ - 3 1/4
18-22 Pure Convection™ 325 3 1/2 - 4
22-24 Convection Bake™ 325 4 - 4 1/2
24-30 Convection Bake™ 325 4 1/2 - 5

There are many factors that will alter the cooking time of the turkeys: partially-frozen or refrigerated turkeys will take longer; partially-cooked or turkeys that were seared in advance will take a shorter cooking time. The above guides are approximations. For best results, use an instant-read thermometer in the thigh for proper doneness.

How many pies can I fit in the oven at a time?

Answer:

As long as the pies are not touching each other or the side walls of the oven, you can place up to three per rack, depending on their size. Pure Convection™ is the recommended baking mode, and use rack positions 1, 3, and 5. Your cooking time will most likely increase by about 10-15 minutes, depending on how many pies are in the oven at a time.

How should I place the roasting pan in the oven?

Answer:

If you are roasting only one turkey, place the turkey with the rack facing side to side. If you are roasting 2 turkeys in one oven cell, two 10" x 13" pans with racks will fit front to back in the cell. The turkeys' cavities should face the window. HINT: The Dacor® Roasting Pan with V-rack (AORPVR) is designed to fit side by side in a 30" oven cell.

I don’t have a roasting rack. What do I do?

Answer:

Make your own roasting rack by cutting carrots, celery, and onions into 1-1 1/2" pieces. Line the bottom of your roasting pan with the vegetables about 1 1/2-2" deep. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables.

I usually brine my turkey. Can I still do this using convection?

Answer:

Absolutely! Follow the original brine recipe to prepare. When roasting, place on a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan. Use the same times, temperatures, and modes as stated in the charts above.

I usually cook my turkey in an oven-roasting bag, covered roasting pan, or covered ceramic roaster. What mode and temperature do I use?

Answer:

When the turkey is completely covered, the convection air will not reach the turkey. It is best to use Standard Bake™ mode, rack position 1 and follow your original recipe for times and temperature.

I usually glaze my turkey. When is the best time during roasting to do this?

Answer:

During the last hour would be best to glaze the turkey, especially if the glaze is sugar based. Sugar-based glazes tend to burn, so the last hour is best. The oven temperature may also need to be adjusted down to properly glaze the turkey without burning it. Begin with 25°F lower and adjust as necessary.

I usually make gravy out of the drippings on the bottom of the pan, but when roasting in convection, there is not enough. Why did this happen and what can I do to make the gravy?

Answer:

If there are not enough drippings in the bottom of the pan to make your favorite gravy, keep in mind that they are still inside the turkey. The convection has seared the turkey and locked in the juices for a moist, flavorful turkey. You may need to compensate with more stock or broth.

I usually stuff my turkey. What do I need to do?

Answer:

  1. Follow the above preparation steps for unstuffed turkeys.
  2. The stuffing needs to be fully cooked before inserting it into the bird's cavity. Any carrots, celery, or onions should be sautéed. Allow the stuffing to cool before inserting it into the cavity, though.
  3. Stuff the bird just before you are about to roast it. DO NOT stuff it the night before and then refrigerate it. There is a greater risk for creating bacteria when doing this.
  4. It is better to prepare stuffing on the side, instead of stuffing the turkey, since minimum internal temperatures cannot always be reached. Stuffing adds insulation, making it harder for the stuffing to reach a safe internal temperature of 165°F, while the turkey may register a much higher temperature, producing a drier product. It also lengthens the cooking process.
  5. After the turkey is in the oven, sanitize every utensil, cutting board and surface in the kitchen with a bleach-based cleanser and hot water.
I’m planning on grilling my turkey on the barbecue rotisserie. What do I need to do?

Answer:

  1. The largest turkey that will fit on the rotisserie is 17 pounds. Somewhere between 10 and 13 pounds is recommended, as it is more manageable on the rotisserie.
  2. Unwrap the turkey and remove the neck and giblets.
  3. Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Rub the skin with olive oil or butter for better browning. Season as desired.
  5. To add some stability, stuff the turkey cavity with whole, peeled onions. It is not recommended to stuff the turkey with bread stuffing. Prepare this on the side.
  6. Truss the turkey with butcher's twine. Fold the wing tips back behind the turkey and tie the bird's legs together, making it as compact as possible.
  7. Pierce the onions through the cavity with the rotisserie rod.
  8. Before turning the rotisserie burner on, insert the rod into the motor and watch the turkey spin to make sure it spins evenly and is centered in front of the rotisserie burner. Make adjustments accordingly.
  9. Use only the rotisserie burner. Do not use the burners on the bottom, as juices from the turkey may cause flare-ups.
  10. Close the canopy lid, but occasionally check the turkey to make sure that it is properly spinning on the rotisserie.
  11. Check the turkey's internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer to reach 180°F in the thigh.
I’m planning on grilling my turkey without using the rotisserie. How can I do this?

Answer:

Prepare the turkey as stated above. Turn on the two side burners on high, leaving the center burner off. Once about 350°F registers on the front canopy thermometer, place the turkey on a V-shaped rack in the center of the barbecue. Adjust the burners down to a medium setting to maintain about 350°F. Timing will be about the same as stated in the above charts for stuffed or unstuffed turkeys. Close the canopy lid, but make sure to occasionally check the turkey.

Is it better to buy fresh or frozen turkeys?

Answer:

It is better to buy fresh, but it needs to be purchased the day before roasting, and the selection at that time may not be suitable for your party. A fresh turkey should not sit in the refrigerator for more than one day since its quality will deteriorate quickly.

If purchasing a frozen turkey, you need to purchase it at least 5 days in advance and provide ample space in the refrigerator for proper thawing.

Is it better to roast one large turkey or two smaller ones?

Answer:

Instead of doing one really large bird, try 2 medium-sized birds in one oven cell! In the Dacor® 30" Oven, you can place two 15-pound turkeys side by side on roasting racks. Think of it, four breasts, four legs, it's enough for 20 adults! Another reason to try this is because the smaller the bird, the more tender it will be. And the time will remain the same for one bird - your two birds at 15 pounds each will cook in about 2-2 1/2 hours!

Tips for Roasting Turkeys in a Convection Microwave.

Model numbers DCM24 or PCOR30

  1. In the DCM24, a 13-pound fresh whole turkey can be roasted. In the PCOR30, a 9-pound fresh whole turkey can be roasted. Season turkey as desired, then place turkey breast-side up on low rack with turntable below in the microwave. Use the Auto Roast™ mode: press Auto Roast, then 2 for turkey. Enter 13.0 pounds. Then press Start. It will take about 90 minutes to roast a turkey in this manner. There is no need to preheat.
  2. There is no need to baste during cooking, but if you would like to brush with butter, oil, or marinade, you may do so.
  3. It is best to determine doneness by taking the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. The turkey should be 180°F in the thigh.
  4. For smaller servings, try roasting a bone-in turkey breast. Season turkey breasts as desired. Place on low rack with turntable underneath inside microwave. Use the Auto Roast™ mode: Press Auto Roast, then 3 for turkey breasts. Enter number of pounds, then press start. There is no need to preheat. An internal temperature of 170 degrees is required for a turkey breast.  
What are some tips for unstuffed turkeys?

Answer:

  1. Unwrap the turkey and remove the neck and giblets.
  2. Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Rub the skin with olive oil or butter for better browning.
  4. Raise the turkey up on a V-shaped rack inside a roasting pan. Use a roasting pan that allows for at least 3/4 of the turkey to be exposed above the sides of the pan. This allows the convection air to flow freely around the bird, giving it a nice, brown sear. It also helps to lock in the juices, creating a moist, tasteful meal. Dacor® offers roasting pans with a V-shaped racks (Accessory #: AORPVR). Please contact your local dealer to purchase it.
  5. Spray roasting rack and pan with nonstick cooking spray for easy clean-up.
  6. Fresh herbs added to the olive oil rub add great flavor. Use fresh, though, as dried may burn while roasting.
  7. For added flavor, slit the skin at the bottom of the breast to create a pocket between the skin and the breast. Insert the olive oil rub underneath the skin.
  8. Add chopped onions, carrots, celery, and whole herbs into the bird's cavity. This helps retain moisture while adding flavor to the turkey. These vegetables can be used to flavor homemade gravy after the turkey has reached its safe internal temperature.
  9. After the turkey is in the oven, sanitize every utensil, cutting board, and surface in the kitchen with a bleach-based cleanser and hot water.
What do I need to do in advance to prepare for roasting a turkey in convection?

Answer:

  1. If your oven needs to be self-cleaned, do so at least 2 weeks in advance. If your oven is relatively clean, just remove the filter in the back of the oven cell and place it in the dishwasher to clean it.
  2. Purchase a frozen turkey at least 5 days in advance before roasting and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator.
  3. If you are brining the turkey, begin brining 4 hours before roasting (unless otherwise instructed by your original recipe).
What do I use to take an internal temperature?

Answer:

If your Dacor® Oven has a meat probe, it is recommended that it is used to reach the proper temperature. An alternate way of taking the temperature is to use an instant-read thermometer. These can be found at any kitchen supply store.

What equipment do I need to roast a turkey in convection?

Answer:

  1. A roasting pan with a V-shaped rack inside, available from Dacor® (# AORPVR). Please contact your dealer to purchase one. Kitchen supply stores also carry great roasting pans with V-shaped racks.
  2. Butcher's twine for trussing the turkey.
  3. A large cutting board.
  4. A good, sharp-slicing knife.
  5. A pair of tongs or slicing forks.
  6. An instant-read thermometer or oven meat probe.
  7. A serving platter.
  8. Aluminum foil.
  9. Bleach-based spray cleanser and paper towels.
What if my turkey seems to be cooking too quickly and we’re not eating for a few hours?

Answer:

You can lower the oven temperature by about 50°F and cover the turkey with foil. This will slow down the cooking process.

What if the turkey sits in the brine for longer than 4 hours?

Answer:

A couple of hours longer are fine, but don't allow it to soak any longer than 6 hours. It will not crisp as much and begin to dry out.

What is brining and what does it do for the turkey?

Answer:

Brining is soaking the whole fresh turkey in salted water for a few hours before roasting. It enhances the flavor and helps retain moisture. The basic ratio for brining is 1 1/2-2 cups kosher salt per gallon of water for approximately 4 hours. But don't stop there - you can also add wine, broth, fresh cranberries or fruits to the brine to enhance the flavor.

What is carry-over cooking and do I need to do this?

Answer:

Carry-over cooking is a term to describe the additional cooking a food goes through after it is pulled out of the oven. The turkey continues to cook approximately 10°F more after it is pulled out of the oven. It is best not to carve into the bird until it has rested for 10-15 minutes, since this will result in a loss of juices.

What is the best rack position for my turkey?

Answer:

Numbered rack positions count up from the bottom of the oven cell to the top, like an elevator. Rack 1 begins at the bottom; rack 6 is at the top. The best rack position for any mode is rack 1 or 2, counting up from the bottom.

What is the best way to thaw a frozen turkey?

Answer:

Frozen turkeys may prevent bacteria from growing, but it does not kill them. Therefore, it is important to keep turkeys out of the temperature danger zone (40-140°F). Never defrost a turkey by placing it on the counter. It can cause food-borne illness.

There are three ways to safely defrost a turkey:

  1. Under refrigeration. This requires adequate refrigerator space and advanced planning and is the preferred method for defrosting a turkey. The turkey should be placed on the lowest possible shelf to prevent any juices from spilling into other foods. A high-rimmed pan (2-3") is required to catch any juices. Thaw breast-side up. Defrost times will depend on the size of the bird. On average, it will take one day per 4 pounds for the bird to completely defrost. Plan on defrosting and cooking within a two day time period.
  2. Using a large sink and running water. The turkey may be defrosted by placing it in a sink of running water or in a sink of water that will be changed every half hour. Ample room is needed for loose particles and overflow. Special care must be taken in cleaning and sanitizing every tool used in preparation of the turkey. Hot water and a bleach-based cleanser should be used to sanitize the sink and utensils used.
  3. Using Pure Convection™. You may use Pure Convection™ at 150°F to defrost a partially frozen turkey for same-day cooking. Partially frozen means that the skin, legs and wings are defrosted and can move freely, but there are still some ice crystals and the inside of the turkey's cavity is still hard. Place turkey on an oven-roasting pan with a V-shaped rack. It will take approximately 8-11 minutes per pound to defrost the turkey. This is not recommended with frozen-solid turkeys as it will remain in the temperature danger zone for too long.
What is the largest-sized bird that will fit in my oven, microwave, or grill?

Answer:

Oven cell size Turkey in pounds
30" Wall Ovens and Ranges 30
27" Wall Ovens 24
Large Cell - ERD36 and ERD48 30+
Companion Oven - ERD48 17
DCM24 - Convection Microwave™ 13
PCOR30- Over-the-Range Convection Microwave™ 9
EOG36 and 52 Rotisserie 17
What temperature does the turkey need to reach?

Answer:

Food Internal temperature (ºF) e
Turkey - unstuffed or stuffed 180 in the thigh
Stuffing in turkey 165
Turkey breast, bone-in, skin on 165
Where do I take the internal temperature of the turkey?

Answer:

It is best to insert the thermometer under the leg into the meatiest part of the thigh. Make sure to avoid bone and gristle, as the temperature will read higher than it actually is. When the thermometer registers 180°F in the thigh, insert the thermometer a little further in. If it registers lower, then allow it to cook until it reaches 180°F. If it does not change, then it has reached the proper temperature and is done.

How much turkey per person should I plan on preparing?

Answer:

About 1 1/2 pounds per every adult and 3/4 pound for each child. For example, a 16 1/2 -pound turkey will feed a dinner party of 9 adults and 3 children. This amount allows for some leftovers.