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Roasting Turkey


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That turkey is a beautiful sight! Very nicely done. I don't use softened butter for the turkey, but I stick hunks of chilled butter between the legs and thights and in the cavity. When cooking, it melts and adds wonderfully to the gravy.

I've been using the cheesecloth soaked in olive oil method for my last few turkeys after some advice from Mayhaw Man and Lovebenton0. I would never do turkey any other way now. The breast meat comes out beautifully moist and the turkey browns nicely as you can see with yours!

So, Rib Roast? :biggrin:



Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Nice report and great looking bird! Last year was my first turkey and it was acceptable but not great. Didn't get the color or texture I wanted on the skin and the meat had a bit of spongy moistness to it (at leats to my way of thinking - everyone else seemed very pleased).

This year I was dealing with a cheap grocery store turkey that had been in the freezer for a year but it's amazing what a bit of egullet research and sage advice (thanks Andisenji!) can do.

I brined and wrapped much the same way you did but sans the bacon (which I should have used because I might have gotten away with less basting). Results were not photographed but they were consumed with gusto and the bird was remarkably good considering its provenance.

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  • 10 months later...

My hubby's boss and wife wants to throw an 'authentic' American Thanksgiving. They want to serve turkey, stuffing, trimmings... I mean the works. They asked my help with regards to fixing the turkey and the pumpkin pie. The pie I can handle, but I have never fixed/baked a turkey before.

Any tips? Recipes?

Do I brine it or not?

Do you have a simple stuffin recipe that is good and tasty?

What other side dishes can we prepare aside from the cranberry relish?

I do appreciate all the help I can get in here. I promised to take a lot of pictures.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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I can't resist inserting a bit of humor here but if you want to come as close as possible to a Pilgrim Tthanksgiving, first thing you've got to do is locate a tribe of Native Americans and steal a few turkeys from them.

Well....historians will forgive you if you actually buy your turkey. Here's one of my own favorite recipes..... and if you want to know what to do with the leftover turkey carcass a second recipe as well

Turkey in Raspberry Sauce

Adapted from a recipe by Chef Alice Waters

1 turkey, about 3 1/2 - 4 kilos

chestnut stuffing (see recipe immediately following)

1/2 cup butter, softened

salt and pepper to taste

2 large onions, quartered

1 1/4 cups beef stock

1/2 cup Madeira wine or port wine

1/4 cup raspberry jam

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

rind of 1/2 lemon

1 piece orange rind about 2 1/2 x 5 cm.

Prepare the chestnut stuffing (see the following recipe)

Wash the turkey, wipe dry inside and out and fill the body cavity with the chestnut stuffing. Tie the bird, spread with half the butter and season with salt and pepper. Place the bird in a greased roasting pan.

Melt the remaining butter and into this dip a large double piece of muslin cloth and spread this over the bird. Add the onions to the pan and roast in a medium-hot oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to medium and roast for 1 1/2 hours longer, basting frequently with the drippings.

In a saucepan simmer together 1/4 cup of the beef stock, the wine, raspberry jam, lemon juice and the lemon and orange rinds until the jam is melted. Remove the cheesecloth from the bird, pour over the raspberry sauce and continue roasting until the bird is cooked (about 1 hour longer) basting frequently. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before carving.

While the turkey is standing, skim off the fat from the liquids in the roasting pan, add the remaining stock and deglaze the pan by heating gently and scraping the bottom and sides well. Strain the gravy into a sauceboat and serve together with the turkey. (Serves 10 - 12).

Chestnut Stuffing

A traditional New England Recipe

1 kilo chestnuts

1/4 cup corn oil

3 cups beef stock

1/4 cup butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 1/4 cups farina

225 gr. seedless raisins

1/2 tsp. each dried thyme and dried marjoram

salt and pepper to taste

With a sharply pointed knife carefully cut slits in the flat side of the chestnuts. In a heavy skillet heat the oil and, over a high flame, cook the chestnuts for 5 - 6 minutes, shaking the skillet constantly. Cool and peel the chestnuts, removing and discarding the shells and inner skins.

Transfer the chestnuts into a saucepan with the beef stock and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a skillet heat the butter and in this saute the onion until translucent. Add the farina and brown lightly. Add the raisins and prunes, season with the thyme, marjoram and salt and pepper to taste. Crumble the chestnuts and mix into the flour mixture. Use the mixture as directed in other recipes. (Yields stuffing for one 4 - 5 kilo turkey or 3 large chickens).

Split Pea Soup

2 cups split peas

the carcass of 1 turkey or two chickens

1 cup celery with leaves, chopped

1/2 cup each carrots and onions, both chopped

1 clove garlic

1 bay leaf

dash or two of Tabasco

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. each butter and flour

toasted bread croutons for serving

Wash the spit peas thoroughly and let stand in 2- 3 cups of cold water for 1 hour. Drain the peas, reserving the liquids and add enough cold water to make 10 cups. In the liquid put the peas and

turkey carcass. Cook, covered, on a low to medium flame for 3 hours.

Add the celery, carrots, onions, garlic, bay leaf, Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste and simmer, covered, for another 1/2 hour. Remove the carcass, skim off whatever foam is on the surface and strain the soup through a sieve. Chill and then remove the grease.

Reheat the soup. In a small skillet melt the butter and stir in the flour until blended. To this add a small amount of the soup. Cook and stir continuously until this mixture just boils and then stir into the rest of the now reheated soup. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and serve with croutons. (Serves 6 - 8).

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Don't be afraid of the turkey!!! I just treat it like a big chicken! Rinse the turkey inside & out, pat dry, season inside & out with salt & pepper. I don't stuff my turkeys (I bake the stuffing separately -- it's food-safer that way), but I do stick aromatics (such as a cut-up onion, a few celery sprigs, a cut-up orange or lemon) into the cavity.

Tie the legs loosely together so they won't splay, and tuck the wing tips under the wings (or cover with foil) so they won't burn. Rub the skin with your choice of oil or butter and roast (I like to put mine on a roasting rack so the skin won't stick to the bottom of the pan) in a moderate oven, basting occasionally with water, broth, wine, and/or pan juices.

I don't use a meat thermometer!!! -- I test doneness the way my grandma taught me, by sticking a fork between the leg and body and checking to see that the juices run clear (not bloody). If the top is browned to your liking before the turkey is done, you can cover it loosely with foil and continue roasting.

Take the turkey out of the oven, transfer to a serving platter, and tent loosely with foil to keep warm while you prepare the gravy and heat the stuffing in the oven.

Every family has their own favorite side dishes. Suggestions include:

Mashed potatoes

Sweet potatoes (either candied yams cut in chunks, or mashed sweet potatoes)

Green beans with almonds or green bean casserole (the Campbell's cream of mushroom soup recipe)

Brussels sprouts

Corn on the cob or a dish with corn kernels

Glazed carrots

Creamed pearl onions

A mixture of roasted root vegetables

Dessert is usually pie, pumpkin or apple being the most traditional.

P.S. Daniel Rogov's recipes look delicious!


"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I think for a first timer it may be a good idea to go for a more "foolproof" method. Brining is a good one, but probably the easiest and most foolproof method is the Reynolds Oven Roasting Bag method. If you're in Asia I don't know if they sell them where you are, but there's still probably time to have them shipped to you. Or maybe you have something similar available to you over there.

Typical side dishes include mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, winter squash, corn, cranberry sauce, Campbells green bean casserole with fried onions and pie for dessert.

Edited by sheetz (log)
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Daniel, Suzy and sheetz, I've been taking notes and will be coming up with the final list of menu items for the Thanksgiving dinner. I have learned a lot from reading this thread and all your posts/suggestions. I am def. gonna try the chestnut stuffing (koreans love chestnuts!). I promise to post pics of the food later.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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  • 5 years later...

I've been a longtime eGullet reader but haven't really participated in any discussions yet, so here goes!

For the past several years, I have used this recipe for my Thanksgiving turkey: Miso-Rubbed Turkey with Turkey Gravy from the November 2005 issue of Gourmet. The first two years I cooked the turkey in a Big Green Egg, but I've been using my ancient electric oven for the past few years. The turkey has been fantastic every time.

This year, however, I want to try something different. I will be feeding at least 13 people and will be using a free range Hutterite turkey. At this point, my idea is to brine the turkey (using a simple brine with thyme, bay leaves, etc.) and then rub a mixture of duck fat, minced thyme, and garlic under the skin prior to roasting. My question is this: would the flavors imparted by the brine, combined with the under-the-skin seasoning, be total overkill? I want the turkey to have flavor but still taste like turkey. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Fat gives things flavor. -- Julia Child

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I made the confit turkey leg from this recipe and it turned out insanely good - sounds like you are going to try a similar thing (minus the sous vide cooking). The duck fat and herb mixture worked wonders, while the distinct turkey flavor was still preserved. I would say go for it.

Edited by Baselerd (log)
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  • 3 years later...

A couple years ago I was responsible for Thanksgiving turkey and had extremely good luck with a very high heat and relatively short cooking time method - the result had more in common with a perfectly roasted chicken than the Thanksgiving turkeys I grew up with.  I mean, it was amazing.


I'm handling turkey again this year but lost the recipe. Can someone point me to a good recipe for this method? I think I had my oven cranked to like 475 or even higher, but don't remember the cooking time and what I allotted for carryover. This year I'm cooking a pretty small turkey too - a 9.75 lb Petite. Any suggestions? I've got a reliable Thermoworks probe thermometer so am hoping that I can hit this one out of the ballpark.

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I was in the same situation two years ago. I cranked the oven to 500 F, did dressing on the side, and aimed at a temperature of 165-170 F breast or thigh. It took about 2.5 hours, and was a very satisfying deep golden brown.

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My mom was of the low and slow method--start the bird--stuffed--at a very low temp just before going to bed and then serve it the next afternoon. It's a miracle I lived to adulthood. Now, though, I cut my turkey apart--no small task--and cook the dark and light meat separately. You  miss that Norman Rockwell moment, of course, but the result is worth it.


This year we are having about 40, which is a reduction from previous years when we had 60+. I do 2 turkeys and a ham (I cook the ham by the CI method on the grill), the dressing, gravy and if I have them, cranberry sauce. Sometimes I do my grandmother's red cabbage. Everyone else brings the rest--appetizers, side dishes and desserts. Everyone particpates, sometimes there are leftovers, and we all enjoy the one holiday without strings attached. We rent tables and chairs and seat people all over the yard, and we just hope it doesn't rain. It did today, thanks to Hurricane Sandra.


As to the ham, you trim off most of the fat to about 1/4 inch and score it. Then rub the ham with a mixture of 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 Tbs. paprika, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1/4 tsp. cayenne. Transfer it to a V-rack and let it sit on the counter for 1-1/2 hours. Thread 2 long skewers through the ham alongside the bone.


Light a grill--I use gas so that's what my instructions will be--and heat all burners on high for 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burners. Place the ham on the rack over the cool side of the grill and cook, covered, for about 1-1/2 hours, or until the heat reaches 100.


Turn the burner under the ham to low and turn off the rest of the burners. Grill the ham until crispy on all sides, turning every 5 minutes--this is when the skewers come in handy--for about 30 minutes.


Transfer to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve and serve. This is the most extraordinary ham I have ever eaten.


I apologize for my detour into ham-ness instead of turkey-ness. There are so many ways to prepare a turkey--high heat, fried, cut apart and braised, basted, brined--but in the end we arrive

at the same place. Surrounded by friends and family, eating some darned good food. And gratitude, too.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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I take my bird out at 150 degrees, let it rest an hour and the temperature will rise to a perfect 165.  If you leave it in the oven until 165, the residual cooking at rest will go to 180...that's cardboard territory.  I have tried different methods of cooking turkeys and found the most important factor is a long resting period.  That's when then tenderness goes back into the bird.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I take my bird out at 150 degrees, let it rest an hour and the temperature will rise to a perfect 165.  If you leave it in the oven until 165, the residual cooking at rest will go to 180...that's cardboard territory.  I have tried different methods of cooking turkeys and found the most important factor is a long resting period.  That's when then tenderness goes back into the bird.  

Thank you for this wonderful post!  I made a bone-in turkey breast last night.  Pulled it from the oven at 150, let it rest for about an hour.  Husband said that this was the most tender, juicy turkey he'd ever eaten.  We usually avoid turkey breast and go for the dark meat.  Not anymore!

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Ive just done turkey breast two ways:  1 ) TB boned out w skin on stuffing in the BVXL  and  2 ) no stuffing under it and no skin but wrapped in generic bacon in the CSB


I pulled the the BVXL out at 135 - 140 in the BVXL and about the same in the CSB


rested and it went to 145 - 150


very juicy  very tender  outstanding. as good or better than my usual TB  145 SV 6 hours.


but these TB's had '15 % Flavoring solution '    ''' added  '''


these TB's were also 'Tendon-Less'


# 21 here :




anyway, whatever works for you works.


Turkey Breast does not have to be flavorless and dry.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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