Thanksgiving Turkey

OK, now this recipe is the ultimate test for every non-cooker. I’m talking about the Mount Everest of cooking, the holiday turkey. If you can pull this off successfully, you can officially refer to yourself as somebody who can cook. It doesn’t have to be anything too elaborate; just make the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and a choice of steamed vegetables. I would recommend you not do the stuffing. It makes the turkey harder to cook and it can increase the chances of getting food poisoning. If you want some stuffing, just buy some instant stuff and keep it out of the turkey.

The size of the turkey you want to cook all depends on how many people you’re having over, and how much leftovers you want to have. A good rule of thumb is 2 lbs per person. As for you fussy eaters, this could go either way. I used to only eat the white meat with some mashed potatoes. I also didn’t like gravy; I’d eat it with ketchup. I have evolved since then…slightly (I’m still picky about my choice of vegetables).


Don’t forget to defrost for the appropriate amount of time or the turkey wont cook properly. Use this chart:

Use this chart to determine your cooking time:

Simple Holiday Turkey Dinner


Fussiness Level: 3

Difficulty Level: 5




1 Whole turkey

1 tbsp of butter per every hour of cooking time

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of kosher salt


For stock/gravy:

6 cups of water

6 heaping tbsp all purpose flour



  1. Use the defrosting chart to time the turkey to be defrosted the night before you cook it. Remove all the packaging from the turkey. Remove the neck and giblets from the body cavity and set aside (you use these to make the gravy stock). Rinse the turkey with cold water and drain. Place the turkey in a pot large enough to fully submerge it. Rub the turkey with the kosher salt. Fill the pot with enough water that it completely covers the turkey. Place the pot in the fridge overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F(160 degrees C). Remove the turkey from the pot of salt water and rinse off. Place the turkey breast side down on a wire rack on the bottom of a large roasting pan. Use a basting brush to spread a tablespoon of melted butter over the skin of the turkey. Put the turkey in the oven on the bottom rack.
  3. Make the stock for the gravy. Pour 3 cups of the water into a medium pot, add the neck and giblets bring to a boil then simmer on medium heat for about half an hour. Use a strainer to remove the neck and giblets and keep the broth for later. 
  4. When you are 1/3 of the way through your cooking time, remove the turkey from the oven and flip it over so it is breast side up (Silicone over mitts and a 2nd person to help is a good idea). Baste with the rest of the butter, then return to the oven for the remainder of your cooking time.
  5. Remove the turkey from the oven after the recommended amount of time. The internal temperature should be 180 degrees F. The turkey should be golden brown and juices will run clear when poked with a fork. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand for 15 min. before carving.
  6. To make the gravy, place the roasting pan with the collected Turkey drippings onto the stove top. Pour in the stock. Whisk the flour into 3 more cups of cold water and add it to the pan. Heat on medium, whisking frequently. Add seasoning salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Continue whisking until gravy thickens. Remove from heat. Ladle some into a gravy boat for serving. Serve everything and have a happy holiday.

Tips for carving the turkey:

First, remove the wings and drumsticks whole. Do not carve them up. They make for a nice presentation on the platter, and are great for lunchtime leftovers.

Cut the breast portions from each side. Remove them as two big pieces, like if you were cutting out 1/4 of a football. Slice the breasts into smaller pieces.

Finish by carving off the pieces of dark meet from the sides and bottom, and any more stray pieces.

Goes good with: Mashed potatoes, choice of steamed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, etc)

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