I alway cook my Thanksgiving turkey on the Weber grill. Not everyone has that technology, and some people have turkey at Christmas. This is a source of minor disagreement with my brother, who loves him some pan gravy which you can’t get using a Weber. I always compensated by cooking some turkey wings in the oven and made gravy with that. This year, we celebrated Thanksgiving at a SECURE UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, and I had to use an oven to cook the bird. I have been doing this since I was in my teens, so I had the knowledge. Here is my recipe for doing the bird in the oven and some tips for success. I hope you’re happy Uncle Mike….
5 beginners rules:
- Using a plastic pop-up thermometer is a sure way to overcook your turkey, so buy an instant read digital. If the temperature isn’t at least 165 degrees, it’s not done- make sure to check the thigh meat too!
- Average Cooking Time: 12-15 minutes per pound at 350 degrees.
- Don’t stuff the bird- it is the leading cause of food poisoning and to me not worth the risk.
- Brining your turkey is a great way to keep it moist.
- Inserting butter under the skin is a great way to add flavor and moisture.
I buy a brine pack at my local mega mart. It’s fast and easy. I also buy a styrofoam cooler to put the brine bag in and cover it with ice. Brine for at least 1 hour.
Check off the list:
1 15-pound turkey
1 store-bought brine kit
1 styrofoam cooler
2 sticks butter (compound butter is better, see this blog for recipes)
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/8 cup black pepper
2 ounces sage
2 ounces thyme
2 ounces rosemary
1 apple cut in quarters
Ice to keep the turkey chilled while brining
Thaw turkey in the REFRIGERATOR (it may take two days or longer).
Mix brine bag according to package directions.
Place turkey in brine bag and seal, then place in the styrofoam cooler and cover with ice; brine for at least 1 hour.
Remove turkey from bag and wash out cavity with 1/2 cup of salt.
Preheat oven to 350.
Let turkey rest on counter for 20 minutes in a pan (you don’t want turkey drippings on your counter).
Cut butter into pats and insert under skin.
Sprinkle salt and pepper over the turkey.
Place turkey in roasting pan.
Place foil over breast- this will allow the dark meat to get a start since it will take longer.
Insert meat thermometer in breast.
Cook for 2 hours and remove foil.
Coat breast with remaining butter and continue roasting.
Monitor temperature until you hit the magic 165. Check the thigh meat, and once it hits 165, remove turkey from oven, cover in foil, and let rest for 30-45 minutes before carving.
Now let’s talk about the gravy! You have all the drippings in that roasting pan, so let’s use it.
Ingredients for gravy (along with turkey pan drippings):
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
Skim excess fat from roasting pan.
Pour remaining drippings in to a 10” skillet.
On medium high, bring drippings to a boil.
Add cornstarch mixed with water.
Whisk until thick and smooth.
Serve with your favorite sides.