Cooking a Turkey

So I thought I would change it up a little and add in my recipe for cooking a Turkey.  I mentioned that I would post about this around Thanksgiving but I just now got around to cooking the second turkey I had in my freezer.  Although cooking an entire turkey sounds a little scary, I promise it is a lot easier than you would think! 
#1 - you need to defrost your turkey.  There are two ways to thaw your turkey, in the refrigerator or by running cool water over it.
Refrigerator Method - It is most preferred but takes longer.  You will put your frozen turkey in the refrigerator, it takes about a day per 5 pounds of frozen turkey (my 10lb. turkey took two full days to thaw)
Cold Water Method - Submerge your frozen turkey (in its original wrapper) in cold water, it will take about 30 minutes per pound to defrost this way.  You should change your water every 30 minutes as well to make sure it is thawing properly.  This way is fast but make sure you cook your turkey immediately after it is thawed as bacteria can quickly grow.

#2 - You need to know how long to cook the thing.  Here is a chart for basic cooking time for your Turkey:

 (This chart is based on cooking your turkey at 325 degrees)

Weight of your Turkey
Roasting Time
10-18 lbs3-3.5 hours3.75-4.5 hours
18-22 lbs3.5-4 hours4.5-5 hours
22-24 lbs4-4.5 hours5-5.5 hours
24-29 lbs4.5-5 hours5.5-6.25 hours

You will Need:
  • Thawed Turkey
  • Chopped Onion
  • Garlic Cloves
  • 1 C. Dry White Wine
  • 3 - 4 Cans Chicken Broth
  • Butter
  • Salt, Pepper and Garlic Salt
Start off by preheating your oven to 325 degrees.  On to "Bird Prep"!
After she/he is all thawed you can open your turkey wrapper.  The worst part comes first, removing all of the "goodies."  First up, the gravy pouch/ neck bone/ etc. in between the ol' birds legs.  Reach your hand right on in there and pull that stuff out.

Nice and Clean now...

Next up, flip your turkey around and lift the neck flap... there will probably be some goodies in there for you as well.  I know this is not much fun, but way better to find it now than when you are carving your turkey!

I toss all of this stuff but I am sure there are great ways to cook it and people who will eat it, the choice is yours!  Alright, time to rinse your bird!  Just gently rinse the turkey, even the cavities and then pat dry with a paper towel.


Next, coat your turkey with a nice amount of butter

I then generously sprinkle with Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder
(Or you can use your Garlic Seasoning)

Chop up a whole onion coarsely and a peel a few cloves of garlic.  (This was a pretty small turkey so I didn't use as much as normal)

 Put your buttered turkey in a roasting pan.  ***If you put your turkey in the pan breast side down and cook for 45 minutes and then flip to breast side up you will end up with an incredibly moist turkey.  I did it with the 29 pounder from Friendsgiving but got lazy with this small guy.  It is a new trick I learned and thought you all might want to know***  

I then loosely stuff the turkey with most of the onions and garlic and then sprinkle a little in the pan.  I also add 1 Cup of white wine and enough low sodium Chicken Broth to just touch the bottom of the  turkey.  (my pan has a roasting rack so the turkey sits off the bottom of the pan)  I added about 3 cans of chicken broth.

 Now I knew this bird was going to cook quickly so I jumped the gun a little on this next step.  Usually, I put the turkey breast side down and cook for about 45 minutes.  I then flip the bird and cover the wings in foil.  OR if you are cooking breast side up the entire time, cover the wings as soon as they begin to brown.  I was being lazy (like I mentioned earlier) so I covered the wings right from the get go and they cooked beautifully.

Throw your turkey in your preheated oven and cook for 30 - 45 minutes.   Baste about every 30 minutes throughout your cooking time.  When the breast of your turkey begins to brown, make a little foil tent...

And throw that on top of the browning turkey breast.  This will allow the turkey to still cook but will slow down the browning process so the skin doesn't burn.

Your turkey is done when the internal temperature near the thigh bone reaches 165 degrees.  I always check the temperature over trusting the pop-up button.  (It usually gets butter on it and doesn't always pop even though the turkey is fully cooked)  Make sure you do not hit bone when you are checking the temp though, it will cause your thermometer to read high.

Pull your turkey out of the oven and allow it to rest for 20 - 30 minutes before carving.  (This will allow some of the juices to make their way into the meat leaving everything nice and juicy!)

Sorry, I didn't take very good pictures of the finished turkey.  It was 9:00pm and we still had not eaten dinner so we were a little impatient when this guy was ready.  Anyways, I promise cooking a turkey is not scary and makes for some great meals with leftovers as well!  Follow your cooking times and trust your meat thermometer.


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