28 answers

Turkey Turkey Turkey

I realize it's only July, and way too early to think about Thanksgiving but I can't help that it's on my mind. It might just be that I am craving turkey, I don't know. LOL. Anyways, here's a back story. My mom was a horrible cook. She was an excellent baker, but not the best cook, especially when it came to meat. So my dad always cooked all the meat in the house. When we had our Thanksgiving's I would always be busy with preparing other things while my mom baked and my dad did the turkey. This is the very first year I get to do Thanksgiving all on my own (my dad is no longer with us).
I did cook a turkey twice but it just didn't come out as good as my dads. I did one with my friend in a crockpot. She pretty much did most of it, throwing seasoning on it while I rubbed it down with butter. It had a good taste, but the skin didn't have that golden, crispness. And she is one of those "whatever I feel like adding" cooks that doesn't keep track of what she threw on it. The second time I made one with my boyfriend and it was okay, but not much flavor. I seem to remember my dad cooking it upside down (breast down), does that sound right? I also don't want to use onions (no one in our house likes them). So my question is how do I cook a turkey? I would appreciate any techniques you ladies might have or tips, or even if you want to share your special recipe. I am sort of lost and want it to come out great. Plus I want to do a test run...mostly just because I want turkey! Thanks!!!!

5 moms found this helpful

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Wow! All I can say is you guys rock! I know I could have went on-line and searched it, but having been on this website for a little while i have learned you guys have great opinions and advice. I wanted it straight from you, and I thank you guys so much for your suggestions. Losing my father was and still is devistating. I struggle with it from time to time, but the holidays seem to hit me hard. I know he wouldn't want me sad and would want me to cook my heart out for my own little family. I want to buy 2 turkeys now and try a combo of the suggestions you guys gave. Reading all the responses made me crave it even more, and I totally can't wait to try them out! Thank you so much!
BTW I will totally use a whole onion for flavor (I do in my pot roasts) I just don't like them chopped up and put in the food I eat. =)

Featured Answers

I think you got some good answers but I wanted to add that I don't like to stuff my bird. It cooks faster that way I prefer my dressing not so soggy. But to add flavor, I put a green apple and an onion in the cavity. Since you don't like onion you could leave that out.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

My secret to crispy skin is green butter! Melt two sticks of butter, stir in 1 heaping teaspoon of ground sage, a teaspoon of sea salt and a half teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, and use it to baste the turkey repeatedly during a long, slow roasting. Basting thoroughly every half hour yields a juicy, crispy turkey.

6 moms found this helpful

L.'s Perfect Turkey

In order to do a turkey "hot cook" method, you will need:
a roasting rack
a large roasting pan
2 large boxes chicken stock
2 carrots, 1 onion, 1 whole garlic
Herbs Provence` (spice mix is easily found at most stores)

Pre-heat your oven to 425
Throughly wash the bird, inside and out.
Stuff the cavity with the onion (this will be thrown away at the end so don't worry about your onion aversion), carrots, garlic (with the peals removed). Rub the interior and exterior of the bird with the herb mix.

Place the bird, BREAST SIDE DOWN on the rack and put the rack in the roaster. Pour the chicken stock into the bottom of the pan (there should be at least 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches of liquid). Tent the top with tin foil

Roast the bird about 9 minutes per pound. For the last 20 min, remove the foil, flip the bird so that the breast is up so that it browns. Use a meat thermometer to insure that the bird is cooked through - 167 degrees is optimum!

This works best for birds under 18 lbs...although I have done bigger ones this way, you have to be careful that the bird is cooked through.
You will end up with the moistest meat ever and the stock at the bottom makes incredible gravy! Just strain, separate and slowly add Wondra flour.

Good luck

4 moms found this helpful

My Dad always cooked the turkey too. In my 30's I learned a way to cook them that I like and would still use if I ever cooked a turkey. My daughter now cooks the turkey.

She rubs the inside with salt and pepper, turns the wings backward onto the back to form a platform to hold the turkey upright with the breast side up, puts it on a rack inside the roasting pan, rubs butter on the outside, pours in a cup or so of water and covers it with a lid. I'd have to look at the directions to find out temperature and times. She takes the lid off the roaster for the last 15-20 minutes or so, so that the skin does crisp up. She bastes the turkey, using a turkey baster, periodically during the baking time. She doesn't put any stuffing in the cavity and I think the turkey has less flavor as a result but it's still delicious.

She buys the turkey with the "pop up" button that pops up when the turkey is done. You can also buy the button separately and insert it yourself or use a meat thermometer pushed into the thigh and not touching bone.

I rub the inside with salt and pepper and loosely stuff the cavity with a dressing made out of a purchased bread cube mix. I add chopped onions, diced celery, sometimes nuts, whole raw cranberries, or anything else that holiday reading suggests to me to the stuffing. I like to add browned crumbled sausage but no one in my family liked it. I thought it helped keep the stuffing/dressing moist and added more flavor. You can eliminate onions.

I make enough dressing/stuffing to fill a 2 qt. casserole dish too. The stuffing and a slice of turkey with gravy is the best part of the meal for me. I want left over stuffing and gravy too.

I put the turkey with the breast and legs buttered, breast side up, in a large brown paper grocery bag, close up the end and let it bake without basting it or even looking at the turkey until I'm ready to see if it's done. The skin always comes out crisp and evenly brown.

I tell when it's done by moving the turkey leg. When done, the leg moves easily.

I then make gravy using the pan drippings. My daughter thinks it's too difficult and doesn't want anyone in the kitchen with her. too bad! :( :) I bring ready made gravy in a jar.

Put the roasting pan on two burners after skimming off some of the fat, add a small amount of water, turn the heat on low, scrape the bits of turkey, skin, and perhaps some small amount of dressing that has leaked out loose.

At this point you can add flour stirring it into the fat and small amount of liquid, if you have a very small amount of liquid, until the flour browns. Then gradually stir in milk with a wisk so that lumps don't form.

Usually there is too much liquid to do this. I add turkey bouillon to the liquid to get extra flavor. Put flour into a jar, add milk, put on the lid and shake until all the lumps are gone. Gradually stir the milk into the pan using a wisk.

I've typed all of this from memory and know that you'll need to have more exact measurements. But this will give you the ideas for two different methods. You can find actual recipes in many different cook books. My favorite cook book is Betty Crocker's basic cook book. Fannie Farmer is a good one as is The Joy of Cooking. There are several really good ones written more recently. You can also find good recipes and ideas on the Internet. Just google turkey roasting recipes or just food recipes to get to several good sites.

I think my Dad tried cooking his turkey on it's breast once and it looked awful. What's on the bottom doesn't brown very well and it gets misshapen sitting on a rack and the skin pulled off in chunks. It needs to sit on a rack so that heat passes under the turkey and also so the turkey doesn't stick to the pan.

Enjoy cooking and eating your turkey. Now I want some too. lol

4 moms found this helpful

I use the Cajun Injectables Cajun Butter, Tony Chacery's Cajun Seasoning (in the green can), and oven bags.

The day before, I inject the entire container of Cajun Butter into the turkey and put it into the refrigerator to "marinate." You don't have to do this, but it gives it a bit of extra time to really soak into the meat.

The day of, I mix a few tablespoons on the cajun seasoning with a stick of butter and rub it all over the outside of the bird. I then put the whole bird, breast side up, into an oven roasting bag, put it into a roasting pan and roast it in the oven until it reaches 170 degrees in the thigh.

I then open up the oven bag and use a turkey baster to baste the broth/butter mixture over the turkey. This is also a good time to obtain some of the broth for gravy. Baste several times over the next 30 minutes or so that it will require to reach 180 degrees. I don't use or trust the pop-up timer as I have had them pop prior to the bird being done.

I hope this works out for you. I've had many compliments on my turkey.

4 moms found this helpful

Oh it's going to be turkey day in July! (Gingerbread houses in August). Because now I'm hungry, too.

I cooked my first turkey upside down on accident. It was such a round bird I couldn't tell which end was up... so I winged it... no pun intended.

If your dad's skin was crispy, he roasted or fried it (my 2 favorite ways).

I've started brining it (I usually cheat and buy the jar of it, but if I'm brining tomorrow, there are tons of recipes online, including on the link I'm going to paste) before roasting in the oven, OR deep frying it in peanut oil. Yum. (Soooooo delicious, and not greasy at all. Less greasy than fried chicken, because the durn turkey is a LOT bigger than chicken parts.)

I've noticed something about my mums/grandmother's generation:

Butterball turkey & salt & that's it. There may be stuffing, there may not... but it's Butterball in the oven. Nothing fancy schmancy (I like schmancy).

For both simple, creative, & complex... be sure to check out this site. Even has videos for things like how you tuck the wings over.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/thanksgiving/package/index.html

What I've

3 moms found this helpful

I think you got some good answers but I wanted to add that I don't like to stuff my bird. It cooks faster that way I prefer my dressing not so soggy. But to add flavor, I put a green apple and an onion in the cavity. Since you don't like onion you could leave that out.

3 moms found this helpful

I cooked the first turkey of my life last year for t'giving and my relatives said it was the "best they've ever eaten" which is a huge complement, since my SIL subscribes to Gourmet magazine. Anyhoo, it was a lot of prep...
- If frozen, thaw the turkey gradually in the fridge.
- Put the turkey in a cooler with ice and water to cover it with about 1/2 cup of kosher salt for several hours or overnight (this is for the crispy skin thing)
- Separate the skin from the meat all over the bird but don't tear it
- make a paste of butter, thyme, parsley, sage and a little rosemary and slather the meat all around with this paste under the skin
- Bake it according to the weight of it in the oven (I just googled it - lower temp is better)

enjoy!

3 moms found this helpful

July is a great time to cook a turkey. You only need to heat up the house once and then you'll have meat for sandwiches or make a turkey salad for those hot nights when you don't want to cook.

In the past we've always bought frozen, last year we bought a fresh turkey. It made a big difference.

3 moms found this helpful

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