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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thansgiving Prep: THE TURKEY

Today is all about the turkey. To those of you out there who will be doing this for the first time this year, have no fear – it’s not that hard. You’ll do great!

Jane’s Turkey Confession: I always buy a Butterball (which is already brined, etc) and just follow the directions on the package. Done and done. I’ve never had one come out badly – always juicy and yummy. If you buy a frozen turkey, make sure you read the thawing instructions and give yourself time to let it thaw!!!

I DO put my stuffing in the bird…actually only about half of the stuffing I make fits into the turkey, so I bake the rest of it. When the turkey is done, I combine the two stuffings together – that way you get the juicy turkey stuffing, but you’ll still have enough for everyone. I’ll share my stuffing recipe with later…

Here are two great tips from some friends!

Tip #1 (from friend’s hubby Aaron): Cook the turkey upside down (breast down). It won’t be pretty when you’re done, but most of us carve the turkey before dinner is served anyway. I haven’t done this but have heard that it makes for VERY moist and yummy meat. Aaron also said he cooks the turkey at a lower temperature for a much longer time.

Tip #2 (from my Boston friend Dottie): A tip for great turkeys without losing precious sleep from a friend we both know.
1) Stuff your turkey and do whatever else you do to make it tasty
2) Place the turkey in a brown paper grocery bag on the roasting pan. If the bag’s not big enough, put another paper grocery bag at the uncovered end, and hopefully over the other bag.
3) Staple the bag closed.
4) Cover entire bag with cooking oil. I usually don’t get the underside that’s actually hitting the pan.
5) Bake at 425 degrees F.

A 22 lb. stuffed turkey is done in 3 hours. (adjust time accordingly for the size of your turkey). I (Dottie) have been doing this for over 10 years and the results are always fantastic. The skin is crisp, the meat is always moist. If I’ve overcooked the turkey, the meat is still moist, the skin perfect but the meat is falling off the bones.

Thanks for the tips, Aaron & Dottie! Now, if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, recipes, anything – please share!


  1. 1

    Funny that you always buy a mom ALWAYS gets a butterball too! Our supermarket here runs a promo where if you spend a certain amount of money by a certain date you earn a free turkey for the holidays. She REFUSES to use the store bought turkey and will only use Butterball. She donates the store brand free one.

    As for cooking upside down…I did it accidentally the first time I ever prepared Thanksgiving. (For 60+ people). It was the JUICIEST bird EVER! Everyone in my family cooks it this way now!! Totally works!

    We do stuffing in and out of the bird, too.

  2. 2
    kim & co.

    I hope someday I get to cook the turkey so I can try some of these out. We have never been the ones on turkey duty.

    I do cook a lot of whole chickens though and will have to try the breast-side down with those.

  3. 3

    I’ve always bought a fresh turkey, and baked it in one of those Reynolds Wrap roasting bags. It’s super easy and comes out great every time. Also, I like to add a whole orange or apple to the turkey when I stuff it. It always comes out extra flavorful.

    Any tips on gravy? That seems to be one of the ongoing challenges in my family – how to get the gravy just right.

  4. 4
    Jane Maynard

    I’ll do a post about gravy this week for sure! 🙂

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