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How Do You Cook Your Turkey? Tips, Etc.


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#1 tn20  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 10, 2009 - 10:50 pm

I stumbled across a great recipe for cooking turkeys several years ago and through a little trial and error have a turkey that everyone in my family loves. I've been contemplating trying something new this year, although if anyone in my family hears that, they'll probably talk me out of it. This is what I do... The night before, I put the thawed bird in a cooler and cover it with apple juice, white sugar, & salt. Let it soak overnight. Early the next morning, I take the turkey out, pat dry, and place in a little smoker and go through 2-3 pans of applewood chips. Then I take it out, cut up a stick of butter into 1 TBS. pieces, chop up an apple, and grab a couple of sticks of cinnamon . Then I shove the butter pieces between the meat and the skin membrane and put the apples and cinnamon sticks into the cavity of the bird. The most important thing, IMO, I stumbled across on accident... when I mistakenly put the bird breast side down in the pan, inserted a digital thermometer, made a foil tent, and popped the turkey in the oven. Doing most of the cooking upside down keeps the juices in the breast and keeps the white meat from drying out while you're waiting for your dark meat to get done. The biggest compliment I get on my turkey is from people saying that they cannot believe how moist and juicy the white meat is. When the turkey hits about 140 degrees, take it out, remove foil, then flip the bird over. Squirt honey all over the turkey (try to get it under the skin, if possible). Return to oven without foil until done (I'm thinking you take it out at 160-165 degrees and it will rise 5-10 degrees while resting, but I may be off a few degrees). Make your gravy with the drippings in the pan... makes really yummy, slightly sweet (due to the honey) gravy! Does anyone else have a special way to prepare their turkey that they would care to share?

#2 rjncmj  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 10, 2009 - 10:59 pm

My special way is not nearly as complicated as yours ... I have my mom come over and cook it. It works out really well, IMO. :D Someday I'll have to learn how to do it, but I'm putting it off as long as I can.

Joanne - Registered Nurse & mom of 4.

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#3 arf110106  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 1:42 am

OP, that sounds really good. Probably too complicated for me though. LOL! I'm really nervous this is going to be my first Thanksgiving cooking the whole meal, but I'm up for the challenge!

:holiday16 Lovin' the holidays!!! :holiday16
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#4 georgiapeach717  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 4:40 am

i usually cook about a 20-22 pounder. i let it thaw in the fridge the week of thanksgiving, then in the kitchen sink over night before thanksgiving (with the 3 cats LOCKED in the bathroom!!!) thanksgiving morning i get my big roaster out (i love the one I got from bed bath and beyond that they have on sale this time of year for the 19.99 w/10.00 mail in rebate) i spray cooking spray all over it and especially on the rack thing in the center. I then clean the gizzard bag out of the turkey and wash it really good, check the thermometer (i use honeysuckle white) and plop it in the pan. Then I use Gravy Master and put about 5 big drinking cups worth of water and gravy master over the turkey and into the pan (the mixture should resemble cola) I then cut up one LARGE vidalia onion and throw it in the bottom of the pan too. Then I make a BIG turkey tent out of aluminum foil and spray it a LOT with pam. I cover the turkey and try to leave room between the turkey and the foil and crimp it all the way around the pan. I cook it by the pakage temp minus 25* (i have a gas oven and IMO it cooks faster on the outside if I do the full temp) then I figure up my time up to an hour before the turkey comes out and write it on my big chalk board. THEN i go shop at Kmart! LOL!!! Then an hour before its done I start cutting my potatoes, I get my sweet poatoes in a pan with the butter and brown sugar, I start my potatoes, then at 1/2 til I take the tent off. This allows the outside to get a deep golden brown. I get my rolls out on a pan, and I get my gravy master/flour/water mixture made up in a bowl. I use about 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3 tbls gravy master and enough water to make a very thick brown soup. When time is up, I take out the turkey, put in the rolls and sweet poatoes, by then my potatoes should be almost done, I open my cans of corn and get them in a pot w/ pepper and butter. Then I mash up the poatatoes, cover them, and put them on a back burner so the oven heat keeps them warm. I use my roaster on two burners and take out the turkey and put it on a platter with the foil back on it while I make my gravy. To make gravy: Turn on BOTH burners. Use a big spoon to ladel (sp?) the flour soup mixture into the roaster and stir slowly in big sweeping motions. Make sure it starts to bubble with heat. Use until desired thickness...or just a hair under desired b/c it will thicken a tiny bit more laster) when thickness is reached, turn off heat. get someone to help you pour the roaster gravy through a colander with small enough holes to catch pan drippings/onion/meat/flour chunks (i have a wire one with teeny tiny holes) into another large pot. (you will get a LOT of gravy!) then keep on low heat until serving time so you can put hot gravy into your gravy boat. Cut up turkey, turn off corn, be sure you didnt burn your rolls or sweet potatoes while making the gravy, and serve! (cranberry sauce optional! ;) ) thats how i make mine :D
Robin, wife of Brian :2couple:
and stay at home mommy of a 5 and 2 year old!! :gdgirlfight3ol:

#5 dealluvr  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 4:45 am

i'm thinking of stuffing mine with lemon and cilantro think it'll be good
i love my boys

#6 georgiapeach717  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 4:57 am

i have never stuffed my turkey, i have heard cilantro can be very powerful but i dont know. lemon sounds great though and would probably completment the cilntro well :)
Robin, wife of Brian :2couple:
and stay at home mommy of a 5 and 2 year old!! :gdgirlfight3ol:

#7 heatherbade  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 5:00 am

There is nothing better than a deep fried turkey. Or drive to the inlaws.

#8 georgiapeach717  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 5:03 am

mmm those always look SO good, but I am scared to death to atempt it! i have a local guy who does them but wants 65.00 for a 14 pounder!! :eek:
Robin, wife of Brian :2couple:
and stay at home mommy of a 5 and 2 year old!! :gdgirlfight3ol:

#9 amberjobryant  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 5:18 am

I always do a herb and olive oil rub (usually rosemary and garlic), and I slow cook the bird overnight at a very low temp, so it is usually done early thanksgiving morning, it is always really tender and falling off the bone.......

#10 lcplwinkerswife  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 6:27 am

I stumbled across a great recipe for cooking turkeys several years ago and through a little trial and error have a turkey that everyone in my family loves. I've been contemplating trying something new this year, although if anyone in my family hears that, they'll probably talk me out of it. This is what I do...

The night before, I put the thawed bird in a cooler and cover it with apple juice, white sugar, & salt. Let it soak overnight.

Early the next morning, I take the turkey out, pat dry, and place in a little smoker and go through 2-3 pans of applewood chips.

Then I take it out, cut up a stick of butter into 1 TBS. pieces, chop up an apple, and grab a couple of sticks of cinnamon . Then I shove the butter pieces between the meat and the skin membrane and put the apples and cinnamon sticks into the cavity of the bird.

The most important thing, IMO, I stumbled across on accident... when I mistakenly put the bird breast side down in the pan, inserted a digital thermometer, made a foil tent, and popped the turkey in the oven. Doing most of the cooking upside down keeps the juices in the breast and keeps the white meat from drying out while you're waiting for your dark meat to get done. The biggest compliment I get on my turkey is from people saying that they cannot believe how moist and juicy the white meat is.

When the turkey hits about 140 degrees, take it out, remove foil, then flip the bird over. Squirt honey all over the turkey (try to get it under the skin, if possible). Return to oven without foil until done (I'm thinking you take it out at 160-165 degrees and it will rise 5-10 degrees while resting, but I may be off a few degrees).

Make your gravy with the drippings in the pan... makes really yummy, slightly sweet (due to the honey) gravy!

Does anyone else have a special way to prepare their turkey that they would care to share?


Would this work in the oven too? It sounds delicious... Do you have a specific recipe? I would really love to try this...:)
Let the Shopping Begin!!!:holiday01

#11 celticnurse  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 6:56 am

To make gravy:
Turn on BOTH burners. Use a big spoon to ladel (sp?) the flour soup mixture into the roaster and stir slowly in big sweeping motions. Make sure it starts to bubble with heat. Use until desired thickness...or just a hair under desired b/c it will thicken a tiny bit more laster) when thickness is reached, turn off heat. get someone to help you pour the roaster gravy through a colander with small enough holes to catch pan drippings/onion/meat/flour chunks (i have a wire one with teeny tiny holes) into another large pot. (you will get a LOT of gravy!) then keep on low heat until serving time so you can put hot gravy into your gravy boat.


when do you skim the grease/fat from the drippings? my MIL makes hers much like yours and it is soooooo good. but she doesn't strain the gravy...what's it it is in it for the meal....and it is so yummy.

i also use my roasting pan to make the gravy once the turkey is out of it. so handy and one less pan to clean up later.

#12 celticnurse  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 7:07 am

if i don't get a fresh turkey, i let our turkey thaw in the fridge for about 5 days prior....we usually get a 20-22 lb bird. the day before, i make up the stuffing and keep it in a container in the fridge. early in the morning of Thanksgiving, DH gets up w/me and we stuff the bird, put it in the roasting pan, add about an inch of water, smear butter all over the top of the bird and cover w/foil. let it roast and get the house smelling good. while the Macy's parade is on, i start peeling the potatoes and get them sitting in the water i will be cooking them in later. once boiled, i use real butter and evaporated milk in the potatoes. i mash by hand. the other veggies (corn, peas, sweet potatoes) get fixed closer to serving time. i try to get out my Spode Christmas Tree china out in time for Thanksgiving so we are eating a great meal on "the good stuff". and it gets the Christmas season started in the house. back to the stuffing, my DMIL makes THE BEST stuffing. i asker her what her secret was.....stale hamburger and hot dog rolls! must be something in the crust. also add chopped onion and celery, including the leaves of the celery. yum. i like to make my stuffing moist so it holds together when you spoon it. i always make too much so we have leftover. not all of it fits in the bird so i have a casserole dish ready to bake when the bird comes out. when that stuffing is done, i combine the in-the-bird stuffing w/the casserole stuffing.

#13 georgiapeach717  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2009 - 12:00 pm

i use a big cooking spoon to skim it off when its in the pot after I have strained it. I strain it because I use a big onion and then you get the clumps of turkey skin and flour lumps from my garvy master mixture :)
Robin, wife of Brian :2couple:
and stay at home mommy of a 5 and 2 year old!! :gdgirlfight3ol:

#14 tn20  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 10:29 am

Would this work in the oven too? It sounds delicious... Do you have a specific recipe? I would really love to try this...:)


Yes, most of the cooking is done in the oven and you don't have to smoke it if you don't have a smoker. One year I was being lazy and didn't get out of bed and get the turkey in the smoker, so I just followed the rest of the recipe and it was still REALLY good! A few people noticed that it didn't have the slightly smokey flavor, but everyone still enjoyed it.

My quantities tend to be a little of this, a little of that, but I would guess, in addition to the info I typed above...

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
Then I get 2 or 3 frozen concentrates of apple juice, put enough cold water in the cooler to cover the turkey, then stir the concentrate, sugar, and salt into the water before putting the turkey in. Let it sit for 8-12 hours.

Cut up a couple apples and stick them into the cavity with a few cinnamon sticks. You won't want to eat the apples, of course, but it makes the turkey really aeromatic! Use probably 1 stick of butter between the skin and breast meat.

Preheat oven to 325. Insert digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. When the thermometer hits about 145 degrees, take the turkey out, remove the foil tent, flip the bird so it is breast side up, slather with honey (between 1/2 and 1 cups, depending on how much you like honey and how big your bird is), and put back into the oven. (No foil this time.) You will want to remove your bird when it hits 170 degrees (the temp will continue to rise after removing from the oven) and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Some thermometer tips- I definately recommend one of the digital ones that stay in the bird while cooking, while the temp unit sticks to your oven! The pop up things are notoriously wrong! Once you insert the thermometer, leave it in the same place the entire time the turkey is cooking. Removing it will cause your turkey to lose juices. Same goes for a pop up timer if your bird comes with one- just leave it alone and don't pay any attention to it.

If you have any other questions, just let me know! I don't follow a set recipe so I don't really have any "Step 1, Step 2"s. :)


And if anyone wants a receipe for a to-die-for Bourbon-Gingersnap ham, let me know and I'll post that as well!

#15 Hummin Bird  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 11:28 am

We do a cajun style deep fried turkey. 24 hours before frying time, I remove the gizzard/inards (lol) package and then use the spary nozzle int he sink to wash t he turkey. Next in a bowl I mix a bottle of Tony Chachere's Creole Butter Marinaide, 1 heaping teaspoon of ground white pepper, 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, a few pinches of cayenne pepper and then I inject the bird with all of the mixture. Once the bird has been injected I put it in a big bucket and pour Lousiana brand hotsauce over it until its completly covered. (They seel it in the big gallon bottles here, usually takes a gallon and a half) Then I set it in the fridge to marinate overnight. Next day We use peanut oil in the gas turkey fryer and once its hot, I take the bird from the bucket, put it on the fryer rack and into the oil it goes. I have no idea how long it frys for as I make the hubby do that part since im deathly afraid of oil splatter lol. But the number one trick for fried turkey I have gotten from everyone is to use PEANUT oil, not veggi or canola oil.

#16 tn20  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 11:34 am

OOH, that sounds yummy, Hummin Bird! I have too many wimpy tastebuds in my family for the hot sauce, though. :( Can you please explain "injecting the bird" to me? Where do you inject it? And with what (meaning what type of instrument)? I can think of a few things I'd like to inject in a turkey! Okay, that sounded kind of creepy...

Edited by tn20, Nov 12, 2009 - 11:35 am.
Correcting a typo


#17 Hummin Bird  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 11:41 am

OOH, that sounds yummy, Hummin Bird! I have too many wimpy tastebuds in my family for the hot sauce, though. :(

Can you please explain "injecting the bird" to me? Where do you inject it? And with what (meaning what type of instrument)? I can think of a few things I'd like to inject in a turkey! Okay, that sounded kind of creepy...


lol the Tony Chachere's marinade comes with the needle that you use to inject the turkey with. I just poke it all over differnt places to make sure I get marinade just about everywhere int he bird.

But you know in all acuality, its not very spicy once you fry it. I was afraid the first year we did it that it would be to spicey but its really not, it has just a little kick, like say those saucless fried wings from KFC.

#18 tn20  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 11:48 am

I've never seen or heard of Tony Chachere's marinade... I wonder if it is available in my area (Pacific Northwest). I want that needle!

#19 AndreaInNC  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 11:56 am

we fry a turkey too. You can make your own sauce to inject in the turkey if you don't want any spice. I've made a garlic butter one which was yummy!

#20 AndreaInNC  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 11:57 am

http://shop.tonychac...des-c-8027.html

if you order it now - you should get it before Thanksgiving.

yummy .. just noticed they also sell TurDuchens!

http://shop.tonychac...ens-c-8018.html

#21 tn20  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 12:35 pm

Thanks Andrea!!! I'm going to check out that site now! I wonder if anywhere sells just an injector... I would LOVE to inject our turkey with some kind of honey-apple butter!

Edited by tn20, Nov 12, 2009 - 12:35 pm.
Correcting a typo


#22 AndreaInNC  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 12:42 pm

you can buy just the injector - but you'll find that it'll run you $5 to $10 depending on the store and the quality of the injector. I've seen them at Bed Bath & Beyond. Check any place that would sell a turkey fryer. You might even try Lowes or Home Depot.

#23 AndreaInNC  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 12:43 pm

you'll also find yourself using that injector year round once you get the hang of it. I use mine even when I roast a chicken. But I will also use it to inject marinades into beef and pork as well. now I'm getting hungry!

#24 tn20  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 1:12 pm

LOL! Thank you SO much, Andrea; I am really excited now! I'm going to pick one up next time I'm in town and also grab a chicken to practice on!

#25 teebee  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 - 3:00 pm

Breast down so it soaks in the juice.

#26 dalgal101  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 16, 2009 - 11:36 am

I rub the bird with a mixture of dry mustard, olive oil and worcestershire sauce and put an onion in the cavity. Then you cover it with a cheesecloth or dishtowel soaked in olive oil, this makes it super moist. Good luck with the turkey everyone.

#27 tawnya  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 16, 2009 - 6:23 pm

I do mine really simple. I rub butter all over the skin, then just salt and pepper it. I put it in one of the roasting bags and before I seal it up I stuff it full of ice cubes. As the ice melts it kinda steams the turkey and it always comes out so moist!

#28 lot-narth  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 16, 2009 - 6:48 pm

last year we stood the turkey up and put a can of guiness up it with some herbs - kinda like adam gertler did on the next food network star

#29 jcs1956  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 16, 2009 - 6:53 pm

tn20 can you please post the receipe ; for a to-die-for Bourbon-Gingersnap ham,

#30 amez74  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 17, 2009 - 11:37 am

My soaks in a brine for atleast 24 hours. In the brine I have salt, fresh sage, rosemary, cut up oranges, cut up lemons, and carrots (not sure if the carrots help but I'm afraid to not put them in now-cause what if they are). I bake it at 350-stuffed with oranges, lemons, carrots and the fresh herbs. I pour about a cup of white wine in as well. My husband usually bastes it - I guess he likes that job. which is okay cause I'm always trying to get all the other stuff done. cute story - nothing really to do with the recipe when my son was about four, my husband took him Christmas shopping to pick me out something. He picked out a turkey baster. He was so proud and happy Christmas day when I opened it because he absolutely knew I would need it. Makes me teary eyed thinking about it-it was so sweet of him to think of something he knew that I would use and need.




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