This is how I've been preparing our turkey for the past several years. It comes out very moist (thanks to the turkey bag) and the aromatics really give the turkey an added boost.
As an aside, even though it has never happened, I always have the fear that our turkey will turn out like the one an Christmas Vacation. Anyone else have this fear?
What you will need
Turkey...any size, we usually get between 20-25 lbs.
Turkey bag...used in the baking process
Meat Thermometer (Example of the kind I use, is at bottom of page).
Compound Butter...Click here for recipe
Onions...any leftover from other recipes
Celery...any leftover from other recipes
Herbs...any leftover from other recipes
Cooking the Bird
- First remove the surprise packages in the neck and the body cavity
- Rinse the bird inside and out
- Remove the pop-up thermometer
- These things are set to pop at 1850. Your bird will continue to cook while resting and the final internal temperature will be around 1950 or more. This will give you a turkey that is less moist than I prefer. I use my own thermometer and remove the turkey at about 1600 to 1700, which will give you a nice, moist turkey that is also well-cooked (final temperature around 1700 to 1800).
- Take the Turkey bag and put the flour inside it, then shake to coat the bag
- Work your fingers between the skin and the breast on both sides...making a cavity
- Take the compound butter, slice it, and insert in the cavities you created
- Once the cavities are filled, cut the oranges in half and squeeze juice over the turkey
- Place used oranges inside the body cavity
- Place a few slices of your compound butter inside
- Place any extra herbs, onions, celery, etc, inside the body cavity
- These are used ONLY as aromatics and are NOT to be eaten
- These additions will help flavor the turkey as it bakes
- Place turkey pan on broiler pan (I never trust those turkey pans to be able to hold the weight of a turkey)
- Place the bird in the turkey bag, use the supplied tie to close the bag
- Cut a few slits in the bag, and place on pan
- Insert thermometer, through the bag, into the thickest portion of the bird
- Place the turkey in the oven and cook according to the directions
- When the thermometer reaches 1650- 1700 remove the turkey and let rest at least 30 minutes
- Your turkey will continue to cook and carry-over will continue to raise the temperature an additional 10 degrees
- Remove the aromatics and discard
- It will looked burned where the compound butter was placed, but believe me, it isn't
- Cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes (I'm sure you will be able to find something to do while the turkey rests)
- You should end up with a nice, moist turkey with a great flavor
Here is a thermometer like the one I use. Very good and versatile...
Originally published as...How to Cook Your Thanksgiving Turkey