Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Perfect Turkey

Today, for our mentoring group, we provided a Thanksgiving Dinner. None of these young women host Thanksgiving at their home. They all go to Mom's or Mom in law's. It works for some of them as they have young children and to try to cook and hostess such a big dinner is daunting when you have very small children. For the others I think they just have never thought about doing it.
So, we provided them with recipes, tips, and some ideas. We also talked about traditions and how you go about starting your own traditions.
Below is the way I cook my turkeys everytime. I tried this method about 7 years ago, and now this is the only way I like to cook a turkey. It gives you a less hectic day, and the flavor is out of this world. The drippings from today's turkey made the most delicious gravy!

I thought you might enjoy trying it!

Perfect Every Time Turkey

This is a way of cooking a turkey that I learned from Emilie Barnes’ book “15 Minute Family Traditions and Memories.”

This is a slow roasting method, but once in the oven, you can forget the turkey until it comes out.

Chose the desired size of turkey, wash it well, and remove the neck and giblets. Dry the turkey with paper towels, salt the cavity, and stuff with dressing of your choice. Rub the outside with olive oil. (I always use butter)

Put the turkey breast down (this bastes itself, making the white meat very moist) on a poultry rack in a roasting pan uncovered. Put into a 350 degree preheated oven for one hour to destroy bacteria on the surface. Then adjust the heat to 200 degrees for any size turkey. This is important. The turkey can go in the oven the day before eating it. (example: I have a 20 pound turkey. At 5:00 P.M. Thanksgiving Eve I put the prepared turkey in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour. I turn the temperature down to 200 degrees and leave the turkey uncovered until it’s done the next day about 10:00 or 11:00 A.M.)

Although the cooking times seems startling at first, the meat is amazingly delicious, juicy, and tender. A turkey cooked the regular time at the regular temperatures no longer tastes good. And a turkey cooked at this low temperature slices beautifully and shrinks very little. The turkey cannot burn, so it needs no watching, and vitamins and proteins cannot be harmed at such low heat.

A good rule for timing your turkey is to allow about three times longer than moderate-temperature roasting. For example, a 20 pound turkey normally takes 15 minutes per pound to cook and would take 5 hours. The slow-cook method takes three times five hours so this equals 15 hours of cooking by the slow method. A smaller turkey cooks for 20 minutes per pound, so an 11 pound turkey takes three hours and 40 minutes. Multiplied by three, that equals 11 hours.

Since the lower temperature requires longer cooking, its use must depend on when you wish to serve your turkey. However, once it’s done, it will not overcook. You can leave the turkey in an additional three to six hours and it will be perfect. Thus, your roasting can be adjusted entirely to your convenience. Allow yourself plenty of time, and let your meat thermometer be your guide to when the turkey is done. Your only problem could be if you didn’t put the turkey in the oven soon enough.

The meat browns perfectly, and you’ll get wonderful drippings for gravy. Try it – everyone will praise you and your turkey.


  1. mouth is watering!

    I love slow cookin things but never thought about doing it with turkey.


  2. I have used this same recipe from Emilie Barnes' 15 Minute home and family organizer for the last 10 years. My turkey always turns out INCREDIBLE! I also turn it Breast side down. This way it bastes itself.

  3. Okay, now I have a ton of questions...1. I'd have to be up until the wee hours to put my turkey in if I wanted it ready for a 1 pm meal. 2. I used the oven for baking other things for the meal...that's not going to work. This must be for folks who have double ovens. I'd like to try it, though, because it sounds wonderful.

  4. I am absolutely going to try this for Christmas. It sounds so easy!! Thanks for the really good tutorial Mrs. Raabe!

  5. This sounds really good - as you say Turkey is inclined to dry out.

    Thank you - I'll file it away for the next time I do a big family Christmas - not this year though!


  6. Deanne-the past few years I have brined my turkeys and roasted them at 225* and thought them very tasty but I had to put them in late and get up very early so as not to overcook...I read your method and thought what the heck...What’s the worst that could happen...I can sleep a little longer...I have to say the even lower temp and longer slower cooking time made the bird just superb...I am the envy of my relatives;-) And for someone who had never learned to love the dried out turkey birds of my youth..enduring it only for traditions sake..I am finding a whole new appreciation! Thank you so for a new way of doing an old thing!

  7. Thank you ALWAYS for this 'recipe!!'


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