Turkey Talk – Roasting Tips


Ok, y’all. The way momma and granny did it. Just the good ‘ol roasted turkey. Now, you can dry or wet brine. But, for the purposes of this article, we are gonna do it the way our ancestors did it: with tender lovin’ care.


Now just use these helpful tips to a beautiful, tasty bird. Remember, if you are brining, the cooking time will be shorter. We will post those times at the end of the article. The following tips are for those NOT brining:

  • Pat dry your turkey. No need to worry about “washing” it; you really aren’t doing it any good. Or your sink. But, if you must, pat dry it after.
  • STOP BASTING! I know, “But, momma did it”. Look, basting accomplishes 2 things: Losing heat in the oven leads to longer cooking times and the skin won’t crisp because it’s always wet.
  • This isn’t gonna be popular either- but preferably don’t stuff the turkey. The Bird will get done before the stuffing. Waiting on the stuffing to reach temp will cause the bird to dry out. Cook the dressing in a casserole dish and then stuff it in the bird once it is done.
  • If the skin gets a ‘lil too crispy put a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top.
  • Internal temp on a turkey should be 165*
  • Let that bad boy rest 15-20 minutes before carving.
  • Save the drippings!! Time to go to Gravy Town!
  • Quick prep notes: Remove the giblets in the cavity (save them for other recipes); Season the cavity with salt, pepper, sprigs of rosemary and thyme, garlic, 1/4 apples, 1/4 oranges, 1/4 lemons, 1/4 peaches, a couple of large jalapeno peppers, 1/4 onions. Any combination of the above ingredients, depending on your tastes. Personally, I go simple with salt, pepper, rosemary and onion. Put on cooking rack or in roasting pan– Tuck the wings under, tie the legs with some twine, place on rack and loosen the skins around the breast and place a couple of pats of butter under the skin. Now slather the outside of that bad boy in soft butter. Don’t be shy on the butter. Get it on there thick!.
  • Pre-heat oven to 450*. Slide turkey in, close the door and turn oven down to 350*
  • COOKING TIME NO BRINING – Plan on 13 minutes of cooking time for every pound of turkey if roasting empty and 15 minutes per pound if stuffed.
    8-12 pounds 2 to 3.5 hours
    12-16 pounds 3 to 4 hours
    16-20 pounds 4 to 5 hours
    20-25 pounds 5 to 6 hours

Final note: Try and avoid constantly opening the oven, it’s just going to lead to a longer cooking time. If you must baste, keep it to a minimum.

Most importantly, everyone has their own methods. My methods mat not agree with yours. And that’s ok. As long as, at the end, we are all thankful for the experience to see family and friends, that is all that is important.

Have a great Thanksgiving y’all!

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