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So, let’s talk Turkey (literally!). Maybe it’s your first time being asked to make a turkey for Thanksgiving or maybe you just feel like giving it a try. It’s easier than you think and these simple instructions are straight from my parents, who usually make turkey dinners just for fun. This is how to cook turkey for Thanksgiving or anytime you wish!
This is a non-stuffing version. I know, it tastes better with the stuffing made inside, but it’s been said that it’s not protecting you against food borne diseases – while you may cook the turkey to 165 degrees, the stuffing inside may not get to that temperature and people could get sick. You don’t want salmonella or E. coli, get more information at The Kitchn.
Your turkey should be defrosted in your fridge for DAYS (like 5) based on the weight. I had a 20 pound turkey.
This is based on eating at 2PM on Turkey Day.
Start cleaning your turkey at 8 am. Turn on your oven to 350 degrees. Make sure it’s defrosted totally. If you see ice crystals, run it under cold water until ice crystals are gone.
Then remove the giblets. You can throw them out or use them in a gravy recipe.
Near the turkey’s rear end is a big thing of fat. Remove – either slice off or pry off. Then with the part of that goes over the fence last (my mom’s favorite part), check for pin feathers. You can use pliers to remove if they are giving you a problem.
Have turkey resting on a plate in the sink, run water through it to clean it. Make sure to dry the turkey off. You can use a paper towel. Make sure to clean the entrails off.
If you are not making stuffing, make sure to cover the big cavity with aluminum foil balled up.
Get 18.5 wide aluminum foil – make a tent to cover the turkey to attach it to the pan. My parents place the turkey in a roasting pan with a rack. They don’t add butter or any spices or brine. Place the turkey breast side up in the roasting pan.
Pour water on the bottom of the pan and replenish every half hour. After 2 hours, take foil off for 30-45 min to brown the skin. Then put the foil back on and keep roasting your turkey. Your turkey should have a pop up timer, but I also use a digital meat thermometer. I just got this one by Kizen called the Instapen Pro with Voice and it was so easy to use!
The turkey should take around 4 hours to cook (check after 3.5 hours).
IMPORTANT: Turkey should be at least 165 degrees to be safe to eat (check the temperature).
Rock one of the legs, if it’s cooked, it should wiggle very easily. Take your turkey out to rest and serve once it’s cooled a little. And now you know how to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving! Enjoy and let me know how it comes out!
Save your turkey carcass and make this Turkey Barley Soup https://www.themamamaven.com/thanksgiving-leftover-idea-turkey-barley-soup/
And if you have a smaller turkey, use your Instant Pot!