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November 17, 2011 / makingitmamastyle

How to Cook a Turkey

Does this creep you out?

Surely not as much as this:

Truth is, there’s no pretty way to prepare a turkey, nor are there pretty photos to take of it.

But, I assure you, cooking a turkey is easy and you can do it!  Are you the turkey tackler this year?  If so, read on!  I’ve got you covered.

First of all, go buy your turkey now! Those suckers come frozen and take days to thaw in the fridge.  At HyVee, I hit the “buy a ham, get a turkey free” sale and the biggest turkey in the bin this year was 13 pounds. If you’re gonna cook a turkey, cook the biggest. You’ll have leftovers to freeze for all kinds of future dinners!

Now, ahem, put your apron on (preferably over the brightest pink sweat shirt you can find). This is a dirty job.  (Oh, and don’t forget to fix your hair when you’ll be posting photos for the world to see.)

Follow the directions on your bird as far as cleaning, but basically you gotta pull out the nasty stuff inside first. There WILL be a bag of nastiness in there. If you don’t find it on one end, search in the other.  I’m sorry, there’s just no happy way to describe the process.  Take it out and throw it away! 

Do not cook with it.  Don’t.  If you do, I’ll probably de-friend you.  Gross.

Ok, rinse and dry your bird and put it in a huge roaster.  I don’t own a real one, so I use a disposable one that I set on a baking sheet for support when moving.

Now it’s time for the real fun! Heat your oven to 325 degrees.

Mix the following in a small bowl:

  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 TBSP garlic powder
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Ok, now, see that picture above? That’s what you’re gonna do. Slide your hands between the skin and the meat to loosen the space there. Do it. Work your hand all the way through and around the legs. Stop thinking about it, just do it. Here’s the visual again:

Now, pour your bowl of seasoning under the skin and rub it all around with your hand, once again. Get it all over that meat. This process keeps the flavor on your meat, not the skin. You don’t really want to eat the skin…  gives me the heeby jeebies just thinking about that.

Oh my gosh, these pictures are so gross.  The things I do for you.

If you have extra seasoning, rub it on top of the bird.

Pour 2 cups of water into the bottom of your pan and cover it tightly with foil. Be sure any overlapping areas are covered with an addition piece to keep things tight. You don’t want a dry bird!

Bake for about 3 1/2 hours, or until the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees on a meat thermometer.  The legs will be very easy to pull around when the meat is cooked– you might even be able to work them right off the body without a knife. Start checking the turkey around 2 hours, especially if it’s around 12 pounds or so.

Let the turkey stand 30 minutes before going crazy cave-man on it:

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