Cooking Your Holiday Turkey
Although some people prefer to deep fry their turkey, I am still a traditional girl and absolutely love the smell of the turkey cooking in the oven all day. It sets me in the right mood and gets me excited for guests to arrive. Thanksgiving is my all time favorite holiday and the turkey is the main attraction. It takes center stage on the dining table at my house. Low and slow is the key to a succulent turkey. I like to brine my turkey for twenty four hours before cooking, but it is not a necessity. It does, however, give the bird lots of extra flavor. You can use any brine you like. I make my brine with white wine, thyme sprigs, rosemary, salt, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and water.
Next, I set my oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, I begin to stuff my turkey. My stuffing has sausage meat in it which also helps to keep the turkey moist inside.I sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika all over the outside of the bird and place pats of butter up inside the skin, another tip for a juicy bird. I fill the bottom of the pan with 1/4 inch of water and two cups of the leftover brine. The pan is covered with foil and in it goes!
I let the turkey cook for at least a couple of hours before lifting the foil to give it a good baste and then return the foil to cover the pan. After the initial baste, I will go back every half hour or so and baste again, making sure that the liquid in the pan is not rising more than half way. I save the residual juices that are removed from the pan and use them for my gravy. The foil will be removed during the last half hour of cooking to give it the crispy skin that everyone loves.
The weight of your turkey will determine how long it should cook for. Plan on 20 minutes per pound Some turkeys have a popper which is great and will tell you when it is done, but you will still have to calculate when it should go in the oven if you would like it ready for a specific time. If your bird does not have a popper and you would like to make sure that it is cooked before removing it from the oven, you can use a meat thermometer if you have one. You want the temperature to read 180 degrees when placed in the thigh. If you do not have a popper or a thermometer you can pierce the thickest part of the turkey and if the juices run clear, it should be ready to remove from the oven. You will also want to allow for an extra 20 minutes or so for the bird to rest before carving. This will hold the juices in and keep the turkey moist.
How Long Does Your Turkey Cook?
Butternut Squash Puree Goes Perfectly With This Slow Roasted Turkey!
Look for my recipe for Butternut squash puree! It is sure to be a hit at your next family gathering and the perfect side for a slow roasted turkey.