Thursday, November 4, 2010

Turkey Day

The holidays are just around the corner and it's time to start thinking about orchestrating my Thanksgiving dinner. I have a set menu and the family prefers the same foods each year. I always use a recipe for turkey from a cookbook I have owned over forty years. 

A Thanksgiving Turkey is very special and best when moist. This technique guarantees that it will be cooked quickly, thoroughly, and it doesn't dry out with this method. It doesn't require a lot of tending or frequent basting. It is the most rewarding recipe I've ever used for the cooking of a Thanksgiving Turkey.


Thanksgiving Turkey Cooked in Foil

Weight---------------Cooking Time

7 - 9 lb.---------------------2 ¼ - 2 ½ hr.

10 – 13 lb.-----------------2 ¾ - 3 hr.

14 – 17 lb.-----------------3 – 3 ¼ hr.

18 – 21 lb.-----------------3 ¼ - 3 ½ hr.

22 – 24 lb.-----------------3 ½ - 3 ¾ hr.

Wash thawed turkey (I use turkey breast), dry, sprinkle with salt and Bell’s Poultry Seasoning to individual taste. Add small pats of butter or Smart Balance if desired. Cooking times can be the same for  stuffed birds. Place turkey in the center of large, long strip of heavy duty aluminum foil on a shallow oven baking pan. Put foil covers on ends of wings or drumsticks if it is a whole bird. Bring ends of foil to top and roll together to form a loose tent, not touching the top of the bird. Also seal the ends. Place on a rack in the center of the oven, not too near the bottom to avoid overcooking the bottom.

Bake in preheated 450˚ oven according to the chart above. Remove for the last 30 minutes, open the foil (careful of the steam!). If additional browning is needed, return to the oven. Juices can be basted over the turkey first to retain moisture. Remove juices either before or after this step to make gravy. Sometimes the turkey is cooked at this point and doesn’t need additional time in the oven. I prefer to leave it in the oven to the end of the cooking time, remove it, open foil, and let it cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

Servings vary with turkey size – normally allow ¼ lb. per serving.

*Marsh, Dorothy B., ed. The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook. New York: Harcourt, Brace; World, Inc., 1963.


  1. It's the "Wait 30 minutes before slicing" that my family have never got the hang of.

    Sounds great, we only eat turkey on Christmas Day and more recently Easter Sunday.

  2. Since we moved to the Pacific Northwest, we have salmon instead of turkey for Thanksgiving, but I will save this recipe for our Christmas feast!