Many are intimidated by roasting a Turkey, but here, we’ll be demonstrating how simple and easy it can actually be. We’re certain it will give you enough of a confidence boost and motivate you to roast your own Turkey that we’re kicking off our relaunch with a ‘Thanksgiving Made Simple & Easy’ segment – complete with a two part video demo!
Whether you’re taking the plunge and making a complete ‘traditional’ meal, or just roasting the Turkey, we’ve provided our resources so you can be prepared – and most of all, successful.
Here, we’ll start with the Turkey. Please see our demo videos, notes, ingredients list and exact method below!
Make sure to get all your ingredients ready as follows:
Fully Thawed Whole Turkey
- Remove neck, giblets and innards bag from inside the cavity and set aside for gravy or soup. Wash the Turkey well with water and pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. Throw about a handful of salt inside the cavity.
For the Butter Mixture – can be prepared in advance
- 1.5 teaspoon each of Dried Sage, Ground Thyme and Celery Flakes
- 2 teaspoons of Garlic Powder, Oregano and Ground Black Pepper
- Salt to taste
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon each of Dried Dill, Marjoram, Savory and Tarragon and 2 tablespoons each of Chopped Fresh Chives and Lemon Thyme
- 3-4 sticks of butter. We used a healthier soy and dairy free variety, but any other will do. Some of the prepared butter will be used for your dinner rolls as well as the Gravy, so don’t worry if it seems too much.
Vegetables for your Roasting Pan – can be prepared in advance
- 20 Baby Carrots, halved length ways
- 10 medium Red Potatoes, quartered
- A handful of Fresh Parsley, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium Onions, cut into bite sized chunks
- 2 medium Shallots, quartered
- 10 Garlic cloves, crushed and quartered
- 2 Scallions, cut length ways and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
- 2 containers of broth (about 1lt each) – We used a vegetable based broth, but chicken will do as well. You’ll need an extra container for the gravy and stuffing if you’re making a complete meal.
Aromatic Vegetables for ‘stuffing’ – can be prepared in advance
- 2 medium Shallot, quartered
- 2 medium Onion, cut into bite size chunks
- 2 Scallions, split and cut into 4 lengths
- 4 Celery Stalks, split and cut in half
- 6 Garlic Cloves, crushed and quartered
- 10 Baby Carrots, quartered lengthways
Optional: Turkey or regular bacon
You will also need these items – click on the links if you don’t have any available
- Roasting Pan with Rack – That’s where all the cooking will take place, of course.
- Onion Goggles – Optional – Handy when handling all the onions, shallot and scallions
- Chop and Serve Cutting Board/Tray – make sure yours has a juice well to prevent dripping.
- Twine or Kitchen Thread – Any kind will do, cut about 4 full lengths of the Turkey
- Cheese Cloth – Fold into a double or triple layer that can cover the entire surface and sides of the Turkey.
- Pop Up Timer – Optional – Some Turkeys come with one already installed, so check first.
- Meat Thermometer – Your Turkey is done when it reads over 165f (74c) in the thickest part of the breast and 180f (27c) in the thickest part of the thigh
- Baster – A large eye dropper or pipette. You squeeze the top, immerse it into your liquid making sure not to pick up any solids and release. If the tip is not blocked by any solids, you will see the liquid rush up the tube.
- Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your Turkey and whether you stuff it or not.
- Unstuffed, a 10lb Turkey can take a little under 3hrs whereas a 30lb Turkey can take 5hrs or more to cook.
- Most store bought Turkeys on the market today will come with a packaging or insert providing instructions on thawing and cooking times depending on the size of your Turkey and whether it will be stuffed or not. The vegetables we are adding to the cavity are not considered a stuffing.
- The general rule for cooking an unstuffed Whole Turkey is that it requires about 15 minutes to cook per pound at 325f (163c) and 13 minutes per pound at 350f (177c). But not under 2.5hrs.Now thankfully this is only a guideline as there a few variables like if the Turkey is stuffed, semi stuffed like ours, trussed, your oven, etc..Bottomline: You need a meat thermometer to ensure doneness.
- Rotate your Turkey each time you put it back into the oven. As in a 180 degree rotation.
The heat emitting from inside some ovens may not be equally distributed so will ensure your Turkey is evenly cooked.
1. Preparing your roasting pan
- First, place a large sheet of foil on the bottom of your pan and fold it over the sides loosely making sure to carefully tuck it in the corners to prevent tearing. This saves on clean up, just rip it off and toss it.
- Replace rack on top of the foiled pan.
- Scatter the vegetables evenly in the pan and place the rack over it, make sure the foil remains intact.
2. Preparing your Turkey
- Blend the herbs with the softened butter and salt to taste. Reserve a good amount of butter for your dinner rolls and 3-6 tablespoons more for Gravy and Stuffing/Dressing.
- Add 1-2 tablespoon of the butter inside the cavity along with as much of the vegetables as you can fit into it and toss any remaining vegetables in your Roasting Pan. Any vegetables that touch the raw Turkey or anything that came into contact with it, must be otherwise discarded to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
- Optional step – Loosen the skin of the Turkey by inserting two fingers gently between the skin and the flesh from both the neck and thigh areas. The skin should loosen easily, but make sure not to tear it, go slow.
- If you succeeded in loosening the skin, grab a few handfuls of the butter mixture with your gloved hand and spread it over the flesh under the skin. Again, be very careful not to tear the skin.
- Now you will need to use your twine or kitchen thread/string to truss the turkey. There are ‘proper’ ways to do this and there are ways to get it done. Ours is not the former. The idea of trussing is to keep the Turkey together and ‘in shape’, by holding the wings to its side and the legs together, overlapping and pointing upwards. If you can accomplish this in your own way, then mission is accomplished. Otherwise, we love this simple to follow Youtube video by Alton Brown that we still often refer to.
- Preheat your oven to 350f (177c)
- Once your Turkey is trussed, insert the Pop Up timer in the thickest part of the breast if yours did not come with one and you would like to use it. Then cover the entire surface and sides of your Turkey with the prepared cheese cloth.
- Spread your remaining butter over the entire surface of the cheese cloth and sides, this will also help the cloth stay put.
3. Cooking and Basting your Turkey
- Optional – If you prefer to have the bottom side of your Turkey slightly colored, start by roasting your Turkey upside down for 45 minutes at 350f (177c). Make ure to drop the temperature back to 3225f (163c) once done. Remove the Turkey and place on a heat resistant surface/trivet. Carefully, flip the Turkey over to top side covered with the Cheese Cloth and spread the remaining butter it. Discard the rest.
- Place the Turkey into your oven for 45 minutes. Make sure to keep the oven closed to prevent a drop in temperature when not moving the Turkey in and out.
- Once time is up, remove the Turkey and pour 7 cups of broth over the entire top of your Turkey. It will moisten the cheese cloth and then drip onto your vegetables. Return and cook for an additional 45 minutes.
- Once time is up again, now a total of 2hrs and 5 minutes. If you prefer more solid/less mushy vegetables, take them out now, they’ll be cooked through. You can also wait till the next basting if you want them softer. Remove the rack with the Turkey BEFORE basting, and place it on a cutting board with a juice well, because it will drip. Scoop the vegetables with a slotted spoon, place them in a bowl and cover. Replace the rack back onto your roasting pan.
- Baste your Turkey using the basting pouring the pan juices over the top of your Turkey to prevent drying by keeping the top moist. The cheese cloth will help retain the liquid longer with all the flavors you’ve added to it. Make sure it looks well soaked all around.
- Now is also a good time to take out some of those pan juices and start getting your Gravy ready. That way you don’t have to scramble after the Turkey is done. Use the baster to remove 1/2 to 1 cup of the pan juices for the gravy. 2 cups if you want to use it for your stuffing as well.
- From here until your Turkey is done, depending on the size of your Turkey – see our important notes above for more details – you can roast and baste your Turkey every 30 minutes to ideally no more than 45 minute increments, but upto 1 hour if needed.
- For a healthier Turkey, we do not consume the skin, instead you can cover your Turkey with Turkey Bacon (or any other type) after removing the cheese cloth during the final 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how browned it has become by then. You do not want it to over brown and this will prevent it. First, you must baste your Turkey well to loosen the cheese cloth, carefully remove it making sure the skin is is not stuck to it, baste more if needed. Then add the bacon. And baste again before returning to the oven for the final round.
- Once time is up, your Turkey is ready. Discard or save the bacon and place your Turkey on the cutting/carving board and allow it to rest for about before carving
- To carve your Turkey, here is another great Carving Guide by Alton Brown again, there are plenty of other resources as well but we found this one easier to follow.
- And now its Turkey time!!!