A tried and true recipe that doesn’t have too many steps. I hope this makes your Thanksgiving as stress-free as possible.Tips:
The goal is the cook this bird to an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit in time for dinner. When do you want to serve dinner? Plan on cooking the bird based on the timetable printed on the processor’s wrapper and add a half hour to allow the bird to rest before carving it. If you have a convection setting on your oven, it will reduce the cooking time by about an hour for a 16 -18 pound turkey.
If you stuff the bird, it will take longer to cook, exposing it to drying heat longer, thus removing juices. It is okay to put the stuffing in a casserole dish and cook it separately. I had to get over this break in tradition from my own Mother’s kitchen, but it made my life so much easier.Ingredients:
Optional Savory Seasoning mix:
Buy your turkey and follow the processor’s instructions for defrosting and storing your bird prior to cooking it. On Thanksgiving Day, remove the bird from the package. Rinse thoroughly and set it breast side up in the rack of the roasting pan. Pat dry with paper towels inside and out. Rub salt inside neck and chest cavities, if you are not stuffing the bird.
Mix the spices you like with the fat you choose. This will create a sort of paste. Use a brush or spatula to smear this over the outside of the bird covering all exposed skin. Don’t worry about the underside, the juices will run down and baste the underside naturally.
Insert meat thermometer into a thick section of breast making sure it is not lodged against a rib bone. Add two cups of water to the pan and load into pre-heated oven. There is no need to baste a bird, despite what you may have been told. In fact, opening the oven every ten minutes can make the heat uneven and delay cooking. Check periodically, but not obsessively.
If you are a gravy lover, let me share this secret to good gravy I learned from the Diestel family of California a few decades ago. Heat 1 cup of white wine gently, just to warm it. Pour this over the bird one hour before your bird is due to be done. This will flavor the gravy, but there will be no alcohol, because the heat from the oven will evaporate it. An hour before cooking is due to end is also a good time to add the loose foil tent to prevent over-browning.
Remove from oven when the meat thermometer reads 185 degrees. This may, or may not, be the same time the little red thermometer that comes inserted into the bird pops up. An instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh can also be used to verify temperature. Trust the numbered thermometers over the pop-up variety.