Buying | Defrosting | Turkey Preparation | Brining | Stuffing | Cooking Times | Gravy 
Part 1 - Tips on Roasting Turkey | Turkey Leftovers

















After the cleaning step has been completed, the next step if your are going to use it, is to brine. In this picture, we are brining a 16lb turkey in a canner. To keep the turkey completely submerged, we filled a plastic re-sealable bag with water, and then double bagged it. We have had it happen before where the first bag developed a leak and empty all the water into the brine. When we checked on the turkey, it was floating. That's the reason for the double bagging. After it has been brined for 8 hours, it is to be removed and rinsed thoroughly under a thin stream of cold water, rubbing gently to release the salt. Pat the food dry with a paper towel. Leave out at room temperature for 1 hour to bring the temperature up. The skin should be slightly tacky to the touch after it has had sufficient time to dry. 

With the breast side down, stuff the neck with stuffing and skewer the neck skin over to cover. Tuck the wings under as in the picture

Drizzle vegetable oil or melted butter over bottom of bird and rub to cover all of the bottom. Season with dried sage, Cajun seasoning and garlic powder. 

Turn the turkey over with the breast side up.
Stuff the body cavity with stuffing, making sure not to stuff too tightly. Tie the legs together. Some turkeys have been butchered different than this picture. This particular bird has a flap that can cover up the legs, but no skin flap to cover the stuffing. Use foil to protect the stuffing from drying out too much. Use skewers where necessary to keep things in place. Season the top like the bottom.


After the first hour of cooking, it's time to start basting. This should be done every half hour. Tip the roasting pan slightly to get all the juice to flow to one end. With a turkey baste, suck up juice and squirt all over the turkey. This will help keep the turkey moist. When the turkey has turned a nice golden colour, loosely tent the turkey with aluminum foil. This will prevent the turkey from getting too dark. It will also slow down the cooking process.

Temperature and Doneness:
The turkey is almost cooked when the temperature in the breast and thigh reach a minimum 180*F for a stuffed turkey, 170*F for an unstuffed. Make sure the stuffing has reached 165*F. Use an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching bone to get your reading. Remove from oven and place on cutting board. Tent again with foil and let rest 20-30 minutes. This will allow the turkey to continue cooking by itself and it will also redistribute the juices.

After the turkey has been removed from the roasting pan, empty the drippings into a fat separator or a measuring cup. Let sit until the fat separates from the drippings. Discard fat. It's best to use a fat separator as the fat will remain in the separator as you pour out the brown bits. For our recipe, we used...

Turkey Gravy

1/2-cup defatted turkey drippings
4-cups water
4-rounded tsp chicken stock mix
1/2-cup flour
1-tsp sage
1/2-tsp garlic powder
1/2-tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2-tsp onion powder
1/2-tsp thyme
1/2-tsp black pepper
Salt to taste

Heat the 1/2-cup of defatted drippings in the roaster over medium heat
Mix all the other ingredients and the add to pan
Constantly stir and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan
Reduce heat to medium low and continue to stir for 5-7 minutes until thick and brown.
May need to add more water (or stock or potato water) if too thick.
Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly
This will make plenty for hot turkey sandwiches the next day!!!


Turkey Leftovers