Thanksgiving Turkey

So I've emailed out these instructions a few time to friends and family and decided I'd just post it as well...  

You'll want to buy your turkey at least 4 days ahead and let it defrost in the refrigerator 3 days prior to preparing it for the brine.
Brine, Bags and Cider are all at Williams and Sonoma (but that's more convenience... I'm sure you can get bags and cider anywhere that would work)
Prepare Brine.
You'll need a baster... a meat thermometer... and a bbq brush.
Rinse turkey and pat dry before adding to brine.
Refrigerate for 36 hours... or max. time.
On the day of cooking, rinse turkey completely of Brine (inside and out) and pat dry again.

A couple days before cube a loaf (or two) of French Bread and let stand out and dry on cookie sheets for the next couple of days until good and dry.

The night before...
Dice celery (depending on how much your making... start at at least 5), onion (at least 1 large), and a package of mushrooms.
Sautee the celery and onion together (in butter) once they begin to soften you can add mushrooms
or cook mushrooms separately (I like for the mushrooms to be nice and brown and I don't want to worry about over browning the onions and celery)
(this is probably my favourite part... I love love love the smell of all of this sauteeing... it totally makes me feel so festive!)
Cook a pack of thick-cut smoked bacon (I slice it while it's still raw and then cook).
Bag everything and put in the fridge for the morning.

- I pre-cut the carrots, and celery for the gravy stock. Bag them and refrigerate. (you'll need to keep the neck (and gizzards if that doesn't make you tummy churn) for the stock too).

The blessed day!
Preheat oven at 350. If you need a guide for cooking, THIS will help you out.
In a giant bowl... mix the bread, sauteed celery, onion and mushrooms and bacon. Add butter, salt and pepper to taste (and taste it... it's all cooked so the best way to know that it has all the flavor
you want is to taste and add what's missing).
After the turkey is pat dry you'll want to loosely add stuffing to the neck and chest cavity.
Use turkey twine to tie legs together to close off the stuffing in the chest cavity and use pins to secure skin over the stuffing in the neck.
Rub the entire turkey in butter and generously salt and pepper. (I set a little bowl of melted butter aside for basting later).
Spray the entire roasting rack with non-stick spray (just makes cleaning easier later)
In the bottom of the pan throw the coarsely chopped carrots and celery in, add 5-6 whole cloves of garlic, add turkey neck and gizzards, and add chicken stock (I think I used about 2 Cups and then
added another cup or so of water (if while cooking it starts to get a little dry just add water).
Put in oven uncovered...
I alternate basting the turkey with the pan drippings and brushing with butter every 1/2 hour while cooking... if it starts to get too brown loosely cover with tin foil.
When turkey is getting close (5-10 degrees) to being done I quickly remove the stuffing and add it to the remaining stuffing in a casserole dish and finish cooking.
When turkey is done... remove from the oven... remove from the roasting pan (I leave it on the roasting rack), cover and let rest for 20 min.
In the mean time finish cooking stuffing and prepare gravy


Gravy : I cook it right in the roasting pan on the stove top... first give it a good stir and then strain out all the chunks of vegetables and meat (I just use a slotted spoon).
Depending on how much butter you used to baste, check the grease... you may need to separate a little.

The only thing I do after that is make a water/flour mixture and slowly stir it in to the pan until I have the consistency I want.
Salt and pepper to taste. 

I hope this is clear... I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl when I cook, so writing it out has its challenges.  
If you have any questions, totally ask... I won't bite!


  1. gorgeous turkey! thanks for the tips!! xoxo

  2. I usually have a fresh turkey, but if it is frozen I thaw it in the sink overnight. But the fridge would be so much better, thanks!
    I have never tried basting. I always cook it in a bag, I love how moist it makes the turkey. But I might have to try basting sometime!