Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cooking A Turkey

A quick one to share with you my MIL's turkey recipe (the only thing I have ever made from a recipe of hers! Remind me to mock their jello salads someday, again!). 

Buy a brined turkey or brine yours in a whole bunch of salt in water. (Ask the Internet for brining directions.)

Make a large sheet of foil 2.5 times as long as your turkey's bottom footprint and about twice as wide as the bottom footprint (so if your turkey is roughly 12 x 8 you need a foil that is 30 x 16 or bigger).  Rub your turkey with herbs and garlic if you want.  Don't stuff it.  Seal the foil very well - wrap the edges under a few times- and put into a large roasting dish in case it overflows.  Mine usually does.  Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven without opening the oven or the foil for:

15 lb bird - 3 hours
16-20 lb bird - 3 1/2 hours
20+ lb bird - at least 4 hours

Voila!  A lovely tender turkey!  


  1. That does sound delicious. My favorite recipe is Alton Brown's, from Good Eats (perhaps the most fun cooking show, ever.)

    I like adding the various aromatics to the cavity of the bird, and the flavors really do permeate the meat. Without fail, I forget to brine the turkey, and it still turns out moist and tender. It also takes less time to cook, since the oven starts out at 500 degrees F and you turn it down after 30 minutes.

    I'm a good Midwesterner, so I love jello salads. Especially the ones with cool whip! (Because my family just doesn't do whipped cream, too much effort.) Patrick really hates them, though he's fine with plain jello. He especially detests his mother's 7-layer jello salad. It takes her all day to make the various types of jello, wait for one layer to set, then pour another. It's rediculous. "Why not just mix all the types of jello together? It'd taste the same!" "But then it wouldn't look as pretty!" She replies. "Bah, humbug." That's my Patrick :)

    1. I saw that one! I do usually stuff some herbs into the turkey. Mmmmm, turkey. I also LOVE Good Eats with an unholy passion (you will not find this surprising) - he's like the Harold McGee of cooking shows!

      I hate jello in general and refuse to eat it. The texture weirds me out!

    2. I can understand that, there is something eerie about the polymerized gelatin. Most jello isn't kosher anyway, right?

      Good Eats is wonderful, and is the only cable show I really regret not being able to watch. I looked up buying DVDs, but I'm just too cheap. Oh, good idea for the Christmas list for the in-laws! America's Test Kitchen is almost as good, but their recipes are so fussy I almost never make them.

      You should definitely add an apple, cinnamon stick, and onion with your herbs this year. The broth make from the turkey carcass and leftover cavity stuffing is amazing, too.

      I seriously need to finish reading the Harold McGee book, I think I just finished the meat chapter. The Eggs and Milk chapters were amazing, and it makes me want to buy a copper mixing bowl to make pink egg merengue. I hardly even like merengue. But, I seem to always read the book in the evening, and end up falling asleep. Maybe I should read that book when I can't sleep, instead of wasting my life on the Internet.

  2. Anonymous3:24 PM

    I did this! It was great - we unwrapped the bird and used the meat thermometer to verify I wouldn't give anybody salmonella, and it was exactly the USDA recommended temperature.

    Next time, I might strip the bird fifteen minutes from the end of the cook time, then cook it another half hour (to make up for heat loss), so it would be less clammy/pale looking. Or I might not: once you carve it, nobody cares.

    1. EXCELLENT! I know about the pale-looking. You can always broiler it for about 5-10 minutes too, that works fine. I'm glad it turned out well! It's sooooo easy.


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