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How to make it

  • Number One: The temperature in your oven has to be accurate.
  • Number Two: Your turkey has been safely and totally thawed and cleaned. The only safe way to thaw a frozen turkey is to place it in the refrigerator. Other methods such as running cold water over it or placing it in a microwave oven are not safe because of the chance of bacterial growth and contamination.
  • Time Required to Thaw a Turkey
  • 8 to 12 lbs. 2 to 3 Days
  • 13 to 16 lbs. 3 to 4 Days
  • 17 to 20 lbs. 4 to 5 Days
  • 21 to 24 lbs. 5 to 6 Days
  • Preheat the oven to 475°F. This is not a typo!
  • To help prevent contaminating my counter, after I carefully washed the turkey in the sink and removed both the bag of giblets and the neck, I placed the turkey on the counter on top of about 20 sheets of newspaper. It kept the turkey and turkey juices from touching the counter and once I was done seasoning the turkey, the paper was wadded up the paper and thrown away. Pretty clever! The sink and and counter were washed with hot soap and water and then a solution of water and bleach was wiped everywhere just to be safe. Did you know the neck and giblets are not from the turkey you bought!
  • In case someone is not aware there is a bag of giblets (gizzard and liver) in a bag at one end and the turkey neck is also in the cavity. Another pointer is to use your fingers to clean out yuck in the “back” portion of the turkey. You will find this by opening the ass end of the turkey (have the breast side up) and scrapping with your fingers clean out the cavities in the back that is where there is some nasty stuff you don’t want to cook. It is red in color, just keep using your fingers to dislodge anything in the area, then rinse, rinse, rinse. Keep the neck and gizzard to add to the juice to make gravy. When frying chicken you want to clean out the back of the yuck stuff also. Ok the portion where the tail of the turkey is connected is considered the “back”.
  • Put olive oil in a measuring cup; add all seasonings except the Lawry’s.
  • Gently separate the skin from the breast but don't remove it. You just want to be able to get your hand between the skin the breast meat. Your goal is to both pour the oil mixture and stuff the slabs of butter between the breast skin and the meat and leg and thigh. Now cut a hole at each leg knee and separate the skin and stuff in the pieces of butter. Don't butter the outside of the skin. Before you stuff the butter pour some of olive oil mixture where you have separated the skin from the breast and the legs and thighs. Try and work it around under the skin and then put in the butter. Eventually the oil mixture and butter will work it self out of the turkey and become part of the liquid that will make the most wonderful gravy you have every tasted. The gravy recipe will be posted later.
  • Once you have put the oil and butter in the leg openings, using very sharp toothpicks, pull the skin back over the meat, inserting the toothpicks to keep the skin in place. It works (see pics). Round sharp toothpicks!
  • Lightly sprinkle the Lawry’s and Pepper on the skin on the outside. Then pour on the remaining olive oil mixture and work this all over the skin (see pics). This will help make the skin crisp!
  • Don't place stuffing in the turkey! Stuffing plays havoc with cooking times and is a recognized health hazard. Cook your stuffing separately and be safe.
  • Place turkey in roasting pan
  • Pour in two cans of chicken broth in pan.
  • Place the turkey in the roasting pan (uncovered) in the oven preheated to 475°F for 20 minutes. Our goal here is to "seal the bird" to help keep it juicy and to get the high temperature into the bird. At the 20 minute mark I opened the oven, basted the turkey, put a lid on and let it begin. I basted the turkey every hour.
  • Reduce the heat to 250°F. The reason that turkey is so often very dry is that it's overcooked. We want to now slow cook the turkey.
  • After 3 hours I used an instant read thermometer and once the temp read 160 at the breast and 170 degrees at the thigh, it was then removed from the oven. Take the turkey out and leaving the lid on allow the turkey to set 20/30 minutes and the temperature raised to 170/180. I took off the lid, using two large forks, held up the turkey so it would drain most of juices and then placed it on a cutting board with a raised edge or depression rim to keep any juice from going onto the counter. I placed a sheet of foil over the turkey to keep the turkey warm until serving.
  • Removing the turkey from the oven and allowing it to rest uncovered for at least 20/30 minutes before carving allows the remaining juices to redistribute themselves inside the turkey making the turkey even more juicy, delicious, and easier to carve.
  • All the juices in the pan will become the gravy except the fat which is either poured off or you put the juice in a container and place it in the refrigerator or freezer to get the fat to rise to the top for easy removal.
  • Cook the turkey at 250°F for 20 additional minutes for each pound.
  • Many variables come into play when cooking a turkey. The only way to be absolutely sure that your turkey is fully cooked is to use a quality meat thermometer. Interior breast meat should finally reach 170°F and 180°F for thigh meat. Using a meat thermometer is particularly important if you are roasting the turkey a high elevations since it will take longer but there is no rule of thumb to predict how much longer.
  • OK, “My turkey reached the correct temperature in three hours” plus the 20 minutes. Don’t go by time, go by an instant read thermometer. When you see 160 on the breast and 170 on the thigh, take it out and leaving the lid on, in 20-30 minutes you should get a high temp reading. It is jut like meat roasts, once removed roasts always climb another 10 degrees.
  • If your oven is accurate and your turkey has been completely thawed, the turkey cooking time chart below should give you a perfect turkey.
  • Size Turkey Time at 475°F Time at 250°F "Resting" Time Total Preparation Time
  • 10 lbs. 20 minutes 3 hours 20 minutes 20 minutes 4 hours
  • 11 lbs. 20 minutes 3 hours 40 minutes 20 minutes 4 hours 20 minutes
  • 12 lbs. 20 minutes 4 hours 20 minutes 4 hours 40 minutes
  • 13 lbs. 20 minutes 4 hours 20 minutes 20 minutes 5 hours
  • 14 lbs. 20 minutes 4 hours 40 minutes 20 minutes 5 hours 20 minutes
  • 15 lbs. 20 minutes 5 hours 20 minutes 5 hours 40 minutes
  • 16 lbs. 20 minutes 5 hours 20 minutes 20 minutes 6 hours
  • 17 lbs. 20 minutes 5 hours 40 minutes 20 minutes 6 hours 20 minutes
  • 18 lbs. 20 minutes 6 hours 20 minutes 6 hours 40 minutes
  • 19 lbs. 20 minutes 6 hours 20 minutes 20 minutes 7 hours
  • 20 lbs. 20 minutes 6 hours 40 minutes 20 minutes 7 hours 20 minutes
Butter   Close
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Hole in drumstick   Close
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Seal with toothpicks   Close
Toothpicks   Close
Both knees sealed   Close
Buttered and sealed   Close
Buttered   Close
Seasoned   Close
Close up   Close
In the pan   Close
Use this oil also   Close
In the oven   Close
Juice   Close
Cookiing   Close
Close up   Close
Cooked   Close
Nice breast   Close
Sealed back up   Close
Ready to eat   Close
Javier my friend   Close
Check all the juice   Close
Reducing for gravy   Close
Clean up time   Close
Done   Close
Turkey #2   Close
#2 Ready to cut   Close
Olive oil seasonings   Close
Olive oil   Close
Add & stir seasoning   Close

Reviews & Comments 10

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  • kochhexe 7 years ago
    i thought i knew how...but i never could have put it in writing the way you do - great bird - grat guy - thanks for the tip with the newspaper - i shall remember it in november when i'm making the traditional thanksgiving turkey for american friends!
    Renate - with smilies from the other side of the atlantic
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  • mamaliz5 8 years ago
    There needs to be more people like you play it forward. happy thanks giving
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  • lilliancooks 8 years ago
    What a lovely story! Javier is very lucky to have a friend like you! What's he doing for Thanksgiving this year? lol!
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    " It was excellent "
    juels ate it and said...
    You are a great friend! Javier looks so happy in the picture! Very nice turkey recipe, your pictures really help to guide us along!
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    " It was excellent "
    michellem ate it and said...
    What a sweet friend you are to Javier. Your bird looks so nice.
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    " It was excellent "
    cholena ate it and said...
    The instructions are so accurate ... I have never roasted a turkey before even thou I have enjoyed turkey biryani .... This is something Im gonna save and try it for sure .. Thx JJ
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    " It was excellent "
    lunasea ate it and said...
    Hey JJ - this has to be one of the best instructional recipes ever posted - and your presentation is outstanding. Great pics! Thanks so much! What a nice guy you were to roast a turkey for Javier - he looks so happy. Awhhh... :) Vickie
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  • thegoldminer 9 years ago
    Paul Harvey time (the rest of the story). I called Javier last Sunday and asked what he was going to do for Thanksgiving and he didn't know. I asked if he was going to have Thanksgiving at home and cook a turkey. He said he didn't know how to cook one so I bought mine and his. Then on Tuesday night he called and said he was going to go to LA Wednesday night to see family, taking his wife and two kids. I said I will cook it and you can take if with you. He came over Wednesday afternoon, and we tasted the fresh cooked turkey and he liked it. I looked him in the eye and said "I bet your going to go home and eat this tonight". He smiled and said "Yes senor JJ". He is so funny and yes they ate the turkey that night and then went to LA that night, not hungry. Alas, I did get some good pics. JJ
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  • rosemaryblue 9 years ago
    Nice recipe and a great way to give thanks..
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    " It was excellent "
    momo_55grandma ate it and said...
    great instructions perfect Turkey{wonderful guy to do that for his friend} great job
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