| Cooking methods are
categorized by the type of heat and type of equipment used.
Dry Heat Cooking uses hot air or fat to transfer heat
to the food. Dry heat methods allow surface sugars to caramelize. These
- Pan frying
- Deep-fat frying
Moist Heat Cooking uses steam, water or other liquids
to transfer heat to the food. Moist heat methods are used to emphasize
the natural food flavors. These include:
Combination Cooking uses both dry heat and moist heat
procedures. Foods are first browned in hot fat, then covered and slowly
cooked in a liquid over low heat. These include:
Conventional oven cooking
This is a simple method for cooking whole body turkey, turkey breasts
and large turkey roasts. Also, it provides for greater volume/yield and
less moisture lost than in convection oven roasting. Keep in mind the
yield will be reduced if the oven temperature is increased in an attempt
to shorten the cooking time.
If cooking whole body turkeys, place two turkeys (medium size) on roasting
racks, trivets or a bed of coarse cut vegetables in an 18x26x1-inch sheet
pan. Or place one turkey on a rack in a 12x20x2-inch steamtable pan.
A shallow pan is recommended so oven air can flow completely around the
turkey. Pans with sides higher than 1-inch will shield the thickest part
of turkey thighs from heat, and they will not cook uniformly.
Convection oven cooking
With convection cooking, the hot air moving throughout the oven cooks food
faster and at a lower temperature than conventional cooking. Therefore,
convection oven cooking temperatures should be 25ºF to 50ºF lower than conventional
The hot air movement of convection roasting does cause greater moisture
loss in turkeys and a 3 percent to 5 percent lower yield than roasting in a conventional
- To prevent over-browning due to surface drying, use the recommended
lower temperature. Your turkey supplier or oven manufacturer can
offer temperature and time recommendations for your specific piece
- Tenting with foil is not recommended because it can blow around
and impair the fan action.
- When cooking whole body turkey or large pieces and using just one
oven shelf, place turkey on lowest rack or shelf. If two shelves
will be used, position turkey on lowest and middle racks. If cooking
on three levels, space racks evenly.
- Avoid crowding the turkeys in a convection oven. Crowding inhibits
air circulation and slows cooking.
Combination oven cooking
Popular in mass feeding operations, this oven offers three cooking modes:
pressureless steam, convection or a combination of steam and convection.
Pressure steamer cooking
This method has the least moisture loss and the greatest volume/yield.
The turkey cooks in a short time and with more uniformity.