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How long to cook a turkey per pound

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By David Liu

The turkey roasting time per pound not only determines the taste and flavor of your turkey, but also determine its safety and the latter should be more important than the former.

But how long to cook a turkey per pound should be determined not only by the turkey roasting time, but also the oven temperature. Obviously, the higher the oven temperature, the shorter time you need to roast your turkey.

Generally speaking, the oven temperature should not be lower than 325 o F. Some turkey recipes use an initial temperature of 500 o F at which a 15-pound turkey is roasted for 30 minutes and then cooked at 350 o F for another 2 to 2.5 hours. But that it not definite. You need to watch the inner temperature of the turkey.

As always, the temperature inside the breast or the stuffing or the coldest spot in the turkey should reach a minimal of 165 o F no matter how long you cook a turkey. If you choose to stuff your turkey, combine the dry and wet ingredients just before you cook them. And then fill the turkey's cavity loosely so that heat can penetrate into the stuffing easily saving some time. That is the USDA advice for the safety concerns.

Turkey roasting times can be decided by following the timetables below which are recommended by the USDA. The same time schedules can be used to decide how long to cook a brined turkey (breast) per pound.

Un-stuffed


4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours

8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours

12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours

14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours

18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours

20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours


Stuffed


4 to 6 pounds (breast) Not usually applicable

6 to 8 pounds (breast) 2½ to 3½ hours

8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3½ hours

12 to 14 pounds 3½ to 4 hours

14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4¼ hours

18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4¾ hours

20 to 24 pounds 4¾ to 5¼ hours

You may cook frozen turkey directly. But it needs to double the cooking time that is needed for thawed turkey.

Also remember that you should let the roasted turkey covered with foil sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, which is needed to make your carving a little easier.

Now you should be able to decide the cook time for turkey roasting.

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Subscribe to comments feed Comments (64 posted):

dlighting on 11/26/2009 02:26:09
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straightforward, easy to understand. Great!
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cindi on 11/26/2009 02:55:58
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And what temperature are these the recommended cook times for?
The article sites a minimum and an alternate, but I don't see THE recommendation...
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Tami on 11/26/2009 04:15:13
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How much time do you add for a larger turkey? Mine is 35 lbs this year.
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caligirl on 11/26/2009 09:40:27
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how would you keep a turkey moist if it gets done a couple hours before serving time
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thomas on 11/26/2009 10:30:17
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dam tami you are my hero,a 35lb turkey im amazed,i have a 32lb and i thought that was overboard.
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lamb on 11/26/2009 13:11:01
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If your turkey gets done before everything else, the best way to keep it moist and hot is to take it out of the oven and imediately cover the whole turkey with foil. Then take some newspaper and wet it slightly with warm/hot water. put the damp warm papers on the foil. Then take some bathtowels and cover the newspaper. This will keep the bird moist and hot for hours. I've done this many times. Now I plan on having the turkey done a little early so I don't have to stress about all the timing, and that frees up the oven for rolls or whatever;o) Happy thanksgiving everyone!!
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bpc on 11/26/2009 13:21:06
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These times are recomended for conventional ovens, not convection ovens
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steve on 11/26/2009 13:42:23
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Tami I love you, will you marry me, oh and don't forget to bring that 35lb bird...
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Susan on 11/26/2009 14:56:54
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TO CINDI: The proper cooking temperature for the time ranges given is 350 degrees.
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April on 11/26/2009 15:14:45
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feeling a bit apprehensive. just called my mom to check in with dinner plans for today and she told me that she put in the 20lb turkey at 7am so it should be done by 2. IS SHE NUTS?!?!?!
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Joanna on 11/26/2009 15:14:59
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How long does it take to roast a 42 lb. stuffed turkey, and what temperature do you recommend?
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Marnie de Vanssay on 11/26/2009 17:40:30
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Rather than turkey, why not try "cailles aux raisins" : quail, in English, with little onions and raisins, cooked with cognac. Serve with a fabulous Burgundy, such as a Clos Vougeot, this is Thanksgiving at www.chateaudelabarre.com in the Loire Valley, France
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countess jaye on 11/27/2009 19:55:29
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Now Joana, c'mon - that's no turkey, that's a heifer. 42 pounds???
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Don Rhoads on 11/29/2009 21:04:54
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are you guys eating ostrich or emu???? 42 pounder wow.....
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marian aldred on 12/24/2009 12:04:52
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how long do i cook a 7.49kg turkey crown
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ed on 12/24/2009 21:53:34
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brilliant advice.thanks + merry xmas.
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Kosher Vitamins on 02/09/2010 07:40:35
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Thanks for sharing this up!
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bpm on 02/13/2010 09:35:39
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Wow so simple. I've read one nice <a href="http://ezclever.com/?p=33">book</a> - few hundreds turkey recipes. Even if it's too late ;)
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College Admission on 02/19/2010 04:47:52
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Thanks for the recipe!
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martial arts online store on 02/19/2010 08:16:39
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This really helped me . Thanks
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College Dating on 03/12/2010 02:07:17
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I hope to read more from you! Your articles always provide relevant topics that are interesting enough to keep me reading until the last sentence. Thank You and I look forward to your next post.
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research paper on 03/20/2010 14:48:38
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that information is kinda useful for our family, thanks!
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Compound Pharmacy on 03/24/2010 06:36:41
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Thanks a lot for the article. I really love to read such articles for you share different body of knowledge that people should know. I admire writers like you on providing great post that you dedicate your time in doing so. Thanks again and keep up the great work!
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Hydroponics Supplies on 03/29/2010 07:41:20
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Very interesting!
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Jessica d on 04/02/2010 15:02:51
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I'm greatful for all the tips I have read on here. I'm 26 yrs old and haven't cooked a turkey in 5 yrs since I fell ill an couldy remember the temp to cook it at, length, an safest way no one get sick from food poising. If anyone has any ideas on a tasty gravy I can make with the gibblets an neck that would be great. Thanks an happy Easter!
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York Escorts on 05/11/2010 12:26:55
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This cookies looking very tasty, I love to eat cookies. Thanks for sharing it's cooking method. I will definitely try today.
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Vitamins Chevy Chase Maryland on 05/14/2010 05:18:58
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Thank You for the post. I love to read interesting post that has knowledge to impart. I hope to read more articles from you and in return I will post also my articles in the forum so that others can benefit from it. Keep up the good work!
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micro usb on 05/27/2010 06:23:38
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The most important thing to keep in mind is that a turkey takes a long while to cook through to the bone and keeps on cooking once you remove it from the oven.
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Debt on 06/04/2010 04:57:13
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This will keep moisture birds and hot for hours. I did this several times. Now, I intend to have Turkey made a little earlier, so I did not stress all the time, which frees the oven rolls or whatever o) Happy Thanksgiving to all !
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God's Girl on 07/06/2010 09:13:32
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Well well well, it is a good post. I will try it.
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Best On Web on 07/08/2010 05:49:00
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Your post just made my day. I really love cooking and mixing ingredients. I really learned a lot from your post. Thanks a lot!
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Filtered Info on 07/08/2010 06:00:14
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I really love to read articles that have good information and ideas to share to each reader. I love cooking and mixing ingredients. This information is really good for all people. Looking forward to read more from you that is really inspiring to us.
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christian louboutin on 08/05/2010 08:58:40
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I dont know how to cook a turkey, i also dont know how long to cook a turkey, but i am interested in it, i will learn cooking in future days.
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coach outlet online on 08/10/2010 05:48:49
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thanks for share,I will try cooking a turkey to go home
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Juicy Couture on 08/10/2010 08:59:36
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Bravo! Well done!You are very professional,and gave detail recipe for cooking it,thank you so much,maybe i should try it myself next time,it is very delicious i think !
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hu yan on 08/12/2010 17:16:35
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i don't eating the turkey at all ,but thanks for share the expericence.thanks.
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Bobby on 08/16/2010 15:15:10
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Thanks for these tips when cooking a Turkey, I'll have to use them next time in Thanksgiving.
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oyunlar on 08/17/2010 12:42:20
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How much time do you add for a larger turkey? Mine is 35 lbs this year.
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christian louboutin on 08/21/2010 09:42:21
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You are very professional,and gave detail recipe for cooking it,thank you so much,maybe i should try it myself next time,it is very delicious i think !
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juicy couture on 08/31/2010 08:12:52
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Turkey roasting times can be decided by following the timetables below which are recommended by the USDA. The same time schedules can be used to decide how long to cook a brined turkey (breast) per pound.
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London escorts on 09/02/2010 11:08:44
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Most ovens give cooking guides to help. I always put in a large peeled potatoe into the centre cavity of the turkey. Simply check with a fork and once the potato is cooked so is the turkey
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hairstraightener on 09/04/2010 11:02:23
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I'm greatful for all the tips I have read on here. I'm 26 yrs old and haven't cooked a turkey in 5 yrs since I fell ill an couldy remember the temp to cook it at, length, an safest way no one get sick from food poising. If anyone has any ideas on a tasty gravy I can make with the gibblets an neck that would be great.
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prada outlet on 09/08/2010 08:14:19
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This is a good recipe, and it really does help to me.
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juicy couture outlet online on 09/13/2010 07:07:43
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i also dont know how long to cook a turkey,I haven't do that yet.
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transgender on 09/13/2010 07:57:07
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A rule of thumb is 15 minutes per pound so 13 pounds of turkey will take about 3-3 and 1 / 4 hours at 325 degrees.
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hairstraightener on 10/05/2010 08:49:36
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I really love to read articles that have good information and ideas to share to each reader. I love cooking and mixing ingredients. This information is really good for all people. Looking forward to read more from you that is really inspiring to us. The article is very good!
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Laihdutus on 10/06/2010 01:08:24
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Very nice info... I've had no idea of how to cook a Turkey in a decent way. Now I know. Thanks.
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Flip flops on 10/07/2010 12:15:23
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You've got me thinking about Christmas already! We usually smoke our turkey with wood chips. Cooking it nice and slow keeps it succulent and the added smoke flavour really goes down a treat with the kids.
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coach handbags on 10/11/2010 08:44:35
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Thanks for sharing these usefull information as these are really a usefull information.
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Credit Repair Services on 10/14/2010 12:12:08
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Well I think per pound cooking time in Turkey, not only determines the flavor and taste of turkey, but also for safety and must be larger than the first.
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COACH on 10/16/2010 08:17:15
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If anyone has any ideas on a tasty gravy I can make with the gibblets an neck that would be great.
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coach handbags on 10/16/2010 08:41:18
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Cooking it nice and slow keeps it succulent and the added smoke flavour really goes down a treat with the kids.
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church loans on 10/26/2010 09:16:48
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It is Interesting stuff. I know different thing which is very great to know about it. I really have no idea about cook with turkey style which is very unique.
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church loans on 10/26/2010 09:16:48
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It is Interesting stuff. I know different thing which is very great to know about it. I really have no idea about cook with turkey style which is very unique.
Thumbs Up Thumbs Down
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church loans on 10/26/2010 09:16:48
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It is Interesting stuff. I know different thing which is very great to know about it. I really have no idea about cook with turkey style which is very unique.
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Kitchens on 10/28/2010 10:46:55
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How to keep the turkey moist, if you made a couple of hours before serving time.
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Business Cash Advance on 11/01/2010 07:26:41
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I like this kind of stuff to know about new thing. I really like to cook. Here you give instruction about turkey style cook. Also you give information about which kind of stuff is to be used. Thank you so much!
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Security Print on 11/04/2010 03:30:34
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This is a very good to know about different style of cook. Here you explain turkey style recipe and how to cook this unique style for make recipe.
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Nintendo wii on 11/04/2010 04:51:34
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I hope to read more from you! His articles are always relevant topics interesting enough to keep me reading until the last sentence.
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Credit Score on 11/17/2010 07:56:03
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Nice post. This is one of the best topic, I encounter.Just continue on sharing
your knowledge to the readers. keep us informed.
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Nylimet on 11/19/2010 15:53:23
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Seriously if you need a turkey larger than 20 lbs you should get two. There is no way that turkey is not genetically altered and stuck in a warehouse with a tube in it's mouth. And the legs of a turkey could never support itself that large. Please buy normal turkeys it is better for you! And they taste great when they are left to nature.
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Judy on 11/19/2010 17:25:48
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Your 20 pound turkey is 14 weeks old. My 40 pound turkey is the same breed as yours, but mine is 24 weeks old...and he hatched here, free-ranged here, and ate organically right here. So...bigger doesn't necessarily mean "altered" and I promise you his big, strong legs were plenty strong to keep him living as turkeys should! Yay! It IS going to take forever to cook him, though...
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Max Gottschalk on 01/18/2011 14:59:07
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20 minutes http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/imagecode.html?article_id=4540per pound
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