l. Cooking Poultry. Poultry is always served well done. The methods used to cook
poultry are basically the same as those used to cook meat. Use moderate heat to develop
maximum flavor, tenderness, color, and juiciness, regardless of the type and age of the bird.
High heat will harden and toughen the protein, shrink the muscles, and drive out the juices. This
produces a less palatable product. As a rule, cook young, tender birds by dry heat. Cook mature,
less tender birds by moist heat. However, TM 10-412 contains several recipes for cooking
young chickens and turkeys by moist-heat methods.
(1) Thawing and Tempering Frozen Poultry. Allow enough time for poultry to temper
before preparing it. Temper frozen poultry in the rapid thaw or tempering refrigerator in the
same manner as meats. Separate and cover the birds, and place them on trays. Set the trays on
refrigerator shelves so that the air can circulate around the birds to thaw them. Frozen 3-pound
broiler fryers require 18 to 20 hours to thaw in the refrigerator. Frozen turkeys weighing more
than 16 pounds thaw in three to four days. Turkeys under 16 pounds thaw in two to three days.
Although complete thawing before cooking is preferable, you may cook turkeys before they are
completely thawed if you lower the oven temperature and allow more cooking time. DO NOT
refreeze thawed or tempered poultry.
(2) Cooking Poultry by Dry Heat. Frying and roasting are two dry-heat methods for
cooking poultry. Some specific guidance is given in this paragraph.
(a) Cutting Chicken for Frying. Whole broiler-fryers must be cut into frying-size
pieces. To quarter a broiler-fryer, begin by placing the chicken on its side. Then, place the knife
under the tail and cut close to the backbone from vent to neck, freeing one side of the backbone.
Next, place the knife above the tail and cut close to the backbone from vent to neck. Then
remove the backbone. Cut the cartilage to the breastbone and pop out the breastbone. Then cut
the chicken in half and cut each half to separate the leg and thigh from the breast and wing.
To cut a broiler-fryer into serving-size pieces, begin by placing the chicken on its side. Then
remove the wing at the joint. Remove the leg and thigh section at the joint. Then turn the
chicken over and remove the other leg and thigh section and wing. Separate the legs and thighs
at the joints. Remove the back. Then cut the tail from the back and break the back in half. Cut
the cartilage and pop out the breastbone. Cut the breast in half.
(b) Roasting a Whole Turkey. Wash the turkey inside and out under cold, running
water, and drain the turkey thoroughly. Rub the turkey cavity with salt and pepper and rub the
exterior with oil or shortening. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Insert the meat
thermometer in the center of the inside thigh muscle. Roast the turkey uncovered and without
added water until the thermometer registers 170 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Baste it occasionally
(3) Cooking Poultry by Moist Heat. Braising or stewing are moist-heat cooking
methods. Moist heat is usually used to cook poultry that is not tender enough to fry or roast.
Recipes, such as country-style chicken, call for braising young, tender chickens. This is done to
vary the menu, not tenderize the meat. Boneless, cooked, frozen turkeys are also reheated by