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THANKSGIVING - Turkey or others?

Updated on November 15, 2013

How to Cook the Bird - by Williams Sonoma



No, this does not mean you place the turkey inside the fridge. Take it out and place it on the sink. This will relieve you of the stress of having a semi-frozen turkey the day of cooking.

If it defrosts before the day you cook it, then just place it inside the fridge. Remember, a thawed turkey can remain in the fridge for about 1 to 2 days.

HOW MUCH TURKEY TO BUY? 1 pound of turkey per person.


  • 4 -12 POUNDS: 1 to 3 days
  • 12 - 16 POUNDS: 3 to 4 days
  • 16-20 POUNDS: 4 to 5 days
  • 20-24 POUNDS: 5 to 6 days

USING COLD WATER TO THAW TURKEY - make sure the water does not leak inside the wrapped turkey! Change water every 30 minutes.

  • 4 - 12 POUNDS: 2 to 6 hours
  • 12 - 16 POUNDS: 6 to 8 hours
  • 16 - 20 POUNDS: 8 to 10 hours
  • 20 - 24 POUNDS: 10-12 hours

The video will show you one of the simplest ways to roast a turkey.


The oven must NOT be lower than 325°F. It is best to cook the stuffing outside the turkey but if you insist, make sure the center of the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.


  • 4 to 8 pounds (breast)1½ to 3¼ hours
  • 8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
  • 12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
  • 14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
  • 18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
  • 20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours


  • 4 to 6 pounds (breast) Not usually applicable
  • 6 to 8 pounds (breast) 2½ to 3½ hours
  • 8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3½ hours
  • 12 to 14 pounds 3½ to 4 hours
  • 14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4¼ hours
  • 18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4¾ hours
  • 20 to 24 pounds 4¾ to 5¼ hours

Cooking with



HAM, instead of Turkey

Heat oven to 350°F. This is probably the easiest way to celebrate Thanksgiving - using HAM! A simple spiral ham from the grocery store will do the trick. I baste my ham with a mixture of:

  • 1 cup of orange or pineapple juice - put in a bowl and put 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • Add orange zest or lemon peel
  • Few dashes of cinnamon or allspice
  • Mix until sugar is somewhat dissolved.

I stick several teaspoons of butter inside the spirals of the ham. Spoon some of the the liquid over the ham. Place ham in oven for about 45 minutes. Baste the ham every 15 minutes. On the last 5 minutes, sprinkle some brown sugar on top of the ham. This will give it a nice crispy glaze.

Once ham is done, about 165°F internal temperature, take the ham out of the oven. For decoration, I place Dole pineapple (canned or fresh) slices, and I stick cloves on them so they stay on the ham.

You can also do this prior to baking the ham.

Ham goes great with green beans sprinkled with almond slices!

Cornish hen with chopped celery
Cornish hen with chopped celery | Source
Roasted Cornish hens.
Roasted Cornish hens. | Source

CORNISH HEN instead of Turkey

One year we decided to be adventurous and not eat Turkey. However something needs to accompany the ham.

A nice alternative is the cornish game hen. Cornish hens are affordable and each person can have their own hen since these birds are not that big.

For a party of 4, here's a quick and elegant way to cook Cornish Hen for Thanksgiving.


  • 4 Cornish game hens
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 tbs. thyme
  • Lots of chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse hens and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the garlic, thyme, and lemon zest to the hens. Put the lemon slices inside the hen.

Tie the legs together with string. Roast for 70 minutes or until internal temeratre is 17 degrees F. Let sit at least ten minutes before serving. Each person get their own hen!


How about a RIB ROAST?

This recipe is SO simple and so good. We've tried this at home and it was delicious. THERE ARE ONLY 4 ingredients!

1/3 finely ground coffee

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1/4 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

One 12 lbs. bone in prime rib roast or other roasts you prefer


Preheat over to 450°F. In a bowl, blend coffee with salt, pepper and vanila bean seeds. Rub onto roast and then turn roast bone side down and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Roast meat for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 325°F. Roast for 2 1/2 hours until the thickest part of the meat shows 125°F for medim rare.

Transfer roast to carving board, scrape off excess coffee rub. Carve the meat and enjoy!!!

This goes great with horseradish sauce on a bed of mashed potatoes.


Are you roasting your own turkey or ordering it?

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