The Turkey

Fresh from the oven, golden brown and delicious.

I know that people swear by all kinds of turkey cooking methods, but this is the only method I’ve ever used and it works beautifully. I don’t stuff my turkeys. I don’t baste. I don’t put anything under the skin. And in spite of all of the anecdotal evidence that says that my turkey should be dry and terrible, we’ve found that it makes a moist, flavorful bird. You be the judge.

I haven’t brined my turkey for the past two years. Trader Joe’s sells a pre-brined turkey that saves me the trouble, but I wouldn’t make any bird of this size without some kind of brine.

Both my 13-pounder and my 17-pounder took nearly the same length of time to cook. When considering the cooking times, use the low end as the opening guideline for smaller birds and add time incrementally from there.

To make this recipe, you will need a large roasting pan and a rack to keep the bird elevated off the bottom of the pan. You’ll see how this ties in with the sage gravy from last week.


  • Turkey, brined
  • Canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 32 ounces chicken broth or stock


Remove the thawed bird from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking time.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a roasting pan with foil. Spray the roasting rack with nonstick cooking spray and place inside the roasting pan.

Prep your turkey by removing the neck and giblets package from the cavity. Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels, inside and out.

Coat the skin with canola oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt. Even if you’re like me and don’t eat the skin, you’ll appreciate the beautiful golden color.

Place the turkey on the roasting rack, breast-side up. (If you’re making sage gravy, the onions and giblets will already be in the bottom of the pan.) Which side is the breast side? Check to see if the wing tips are pointing up. Tuck those wing tips under the drumsticks to keep them from burning while they cook.

Place the roasting pan in the oven and add the chicken broth to the pan. Loosely drape foil over the bird to prevent burning.

Check the temperature of your turkey at the 1:15 mark. You’re looking for 160 in the breast and 180 in the thickest part of the thigh. Not there yet? Reset the timer. Always reset the timer on Thanksgiving because there are three dozen other distractions that will cause you to forget to check on the turkey.

When the target temperature is reached, remove the pan from the oven. Keep the bird draped in foil and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.


“Mmmm! What smells so good?” The yummy turkey smell undoubtedly made the Tiny Kitchen Assistant hungry, since he asked for seconds and thirds.

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