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How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey the Easy Way

Updated on August 6, 2013
Copyright 2012 Bill Yovino
Copyright 2012 Bill Yovino

Fantastic results and minimal effort combine to make this the perfect way to cook a holiday turkey. I learned this method during a class I attended at the Culinary Institute of America. It’s exactly opposite of the instructions you’ll see in almost every cookbook and every cooking show. In this method you cook the turkey on low heat until the last hour, when you turn up the heat to brown the skin. The result is that the turkey is uniformly cooked throughout, has crispy skin, and is incredibly juicy.


1 turkey, whole, unstuffed, giblets and neck removed.

1 large onion, thickly sliced

2 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces

a couple sprigs of fresh sage leaves

1 cup water (250ml)

1 cup white wine (250ml)

salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 Celsius).

Wash turkey inside and out and pat dry. Rub butter all over the turkey and season with salt and pepper. Place roughly chopped vegetables and sage leaves on bottom of roasting pan. Place the turkey in a rack on top of vegetables. Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of white wine to pan. Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil. Roast the turkey until the internal temperature is 150 degrees (65 C). It will take about 3 hours for a 15 lb (6.8 kg) turkey to get to this temperature.

Remove the foil, raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees (205 C), and return the turkey to the oven. Remove the turkey when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees (75 C). This takes about another hour for a 15 lb turkey. Cover the turkey with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

You can use the juices in the pan to make gravy, but gravy from a packet or can is good too and much is less effort. Personally, I'd rather be spending time with my guests than standing in the kitchen making gravy.

Other related articles by Bill Yovino:

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    • Bill Yovino profile image

      Bill Yovino 4 years ago

      Peachpurple - I've never tried it with a chicken, but I guess it would work. You'll have to adjust the cooking times for the weight of the chicken. Thanks for the comments.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      this is a sure 100% useful recipe for roast turkey. Maybe i could replace it with a chicken organic chicken instead. We don't have turkey in Malaysia. Mostly chicken , muttons and beef. Hopefully will turn out as delicious as your photo. Voted useful

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 4 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      It does sound easy.

      I have voted this useful - and am adding it to my Recipe Index for HubPages.