. Frozen chicken and turkey giblets are available
for preparation of giblet gravy. Thaw and use according
to AFRS directions.
Frozen, whole roaster ducks weigh 3 to 5 pounds
and require only thawing and washing before cooking.
PREPARATION AND COOKING OF
Poultry should be handled with strict sanitary
measures during both cooking and preparation.
Thaw frozen chicken, Rock Cornish hen, turkey,
and duck before cooking. All poultry must be thawed
at chill temperatures (36°F to 38°F). Never thaw in
Thawed poultry should never be refrozen.
Refreezing lowers quality and promotes bacterial
Use thawed poultry as soon as possible. Do not hold
in refrigeration more than 24 hours. Longer holding
lowers quality and risks spoilage.
Whole turkeys, Rock Cornish hens, ducks, and
chickens are wrapped in plastic bags. Remove whole
poultry from the shipping containers, but leave in the
plastic bag. To speed thawing, spread them out so that
air can circulate. Cutup or quartered chickens should be
thawed in the intermediate carton. If this carton has an
overwrapping, remove it.
Turkeys weighing more than 16 pounds require 3 to
4 days to thaw, at 36°F to 38°F. Turkeys weighing under
16 pounds require 2 to 3 days. Whole chickens and
ducks require 18 to 24 hours and Rock Cornish hens
need 12 to 18 hours.
Clean all poultry after thawing by removing any
spongy, red lung tissue inside the back, loose
membranes, pinfeathers, and skin defects. Wash poultry
inside and out under cold, running water and drain.
Refrigerate until needed.
NOTE: All cutting boards used for preparing
poultry must be thoroughly sanitized after each use.
Procedures for cooking whole turkeys, Rock
Cornish hens, chickens, and ducks are described in the
AFRS. Poultry maybe cooked using either moist or dry
heat. These methods and their variations are explained
DRY HEAT METHODS. Care should be taken
to prevent the poultry skin from becoming too hard and
dry while it is roasting. To prevent dryness, rub the skin
of the chicken or turkey with salad oil or shortening.
This is not necessary for duck because of its high fat
content. If self-basting turkey is supplied, follow the
package instructions for cooking. Place the poultry in
an open pan, breast side up, on a V-shaped rack if
available. A low oven temperature (350°F) should be
used for chicken and Rock Cornish hen. Duck and
turkey are cooked at 325°F.
If the bird starts browning too soon, aluminum foil
may be placed over it to prevent overbrowning. The
formation of a hard, dry crust can be prevented by
occasionally basting the bird with pan drippings during
The Navy procures boneless, frozen, cooked, and
uncooked turkey rolls. These rolls consist of light and
dark meat. The instructions for preparing each type are
included with the specific turkey roll and recipes in the
AFRS. The boneless turkey roll is equal in quality and
flavor to whole turkey, and it is easier and faster to
prepare. It also permits accurate portion control, saves
storage space, and eliminates waste. However, roast
whole turkeys are often prepared for special meals.
As turkey is larger than most other poultry, it is more
difficult to cook to the well-done stage without
overdoing it. Care should be taken to cook it no longer
than necessary; overcooking will result in the loss of
juices and stringy, dry meat. The use of a meat
thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh
muscle will give the internal temperature of the turkey.
When the thermometer registers an internal temperature
of 180°F to 185°F, the turkey has reached the required
stage of doneness. The AFRS contains a timetable for
roasting unstuffed turkeys.
MOIST HEAT METHODS. In moist heat
methods, the water should simmer rather than boil to
avoid the toughening effect of high temperature on the
Depending upon the cooking method used,
temperatures will vary, but slow to moderate
temperatures should be used at all times to develop
maximum flavor, tenderness, color, and juiciness.