Beautiful & Rustic Table Setting
The BIG day is almost here! That’s right, Thanksgiving is just a few days away.
Now if your family is anything like mine, Thanksgiving is really steeped in tradition. We all have those special things that remind us of childhood, family, and home. Most of them center around food and specific dishes. Well at least in this family it does! This day is based around stuffing our faces and being around those we love. I’m sure your family is not that much different.
So if you’re the cook who has to meet all these expectations and keep up those traditions that are so important, this is a BIG day!
Thanksgiving is all about being grateful and all I can say how grateful I am to all of you following me in this journey over the last year!
In this post I want to share my turkey recipe with all of you to ensure your day goes as smoothly as possible! I have spent years perfecting my technique and I have definitely mastered it. My recipe is easy to follow and very simplistic, so here we go…
Thanksgiving Family Stories
We all have stories of things that can go wrong on Turkey Day! Recipes that didn’t turn out the way we expected. We all have a great story that becomes family lore over the years.
For instance, this could look like a turkey sliding across the kitchen floor. That was my Mom and yes we still ate the turkey that year. This is the other fun part about Thanksgiving, remembering the fiascos!
I’ve had more than my share of stories over the years. Just last year I put the turkey in the oven to cook but forgot to turn the oven on! It wasn’t until two hours later I even realized it! Or back to the first time I cooked our family’s Thanksgiving meal when I didn’t know to take out the giblet bag and cooked the turkey with a plastic bag inside of it.
Then there were the times when I decided to change a little something. I put chestnuts in the stuffing one year and believe me I never heard the end of it. Life as we knew it was altered. NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!
In the end, what is so warm and reassuring about this day is family. My family and I always get an incredibly large turkey, up to 25 to 27 lbs. no matter what. Leftovers are something that is a must! Vince is the guy who stands over the turkey while I’m cutting it, risking his fingers every year for that first taste. Our girls put their corn in their mashed potatoes because that’s how my Dad taught them to do it when they were little.
Family, memories, and tradition, that’s why I love this holiday.
My Turkey Recipe & Cooking Method
So to take some of the stress off all of you who have to cook this important meal, I thought I would share my incredibly easy recipe for the main attraction – the turkey. So many people stress out on this but I have a foolproof way of making the most amazing, juicy tasting turkey you’ve ever had. Well, at least that’s what my family says. So here’s the simple recipe I’ve used for the last 15 years to add to our family memories.
Before I get into the actual method, there are a few small things that are so important to get the best results.
1. Buy the best turkey you can.
Depending on where you live try and buy local. We’re lucky in Vermont because we have so many options. Organic is always the best.
2. Brine your turkey.
This is not hard to do and the results are a game-changer. I start the brine the day before Thanksgiving. I use Williams Sonoma brining blend. The directions are on the jar. I also use their large brining bags. Believe me, this one little step will change the way your turkey tastes!
3. Get an oven thermometer to make sure your oven temperature is correct.
This is important in the recipe below. You can pick up one on Amazon.
OK, so here’s my recipe. Trust me, you’re going to love it!
Blast the Bird!
Depending on the size of your turkey, cooking time can range between 2 to 4 hours with this method.
I cook my stuffing on the side, but if you stuff the bird check your temperature about 1.5 to 2 hours in, depending on the weight.
I also use a roasting pan with low sides so the turkey will brown completely.
- Put the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees (this is where you need to trust).
- Rinse off turkey from the brine and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. That is all the seasoning you’ll need to do since you’ve already flavored with the brine.
- Put the turkey on a rack in the roasting pan, turning pan 180 degrees halfway through to get proper browning.
- I tent my turkey with aluminum foil once I am happy with browning.
- Since I cook a large turkey, over 25 lbs. and it is not stuffed, cooking will take about 3 to 3.5 hours.
- Depending on the size of your bird, an average turkey (14-16 lbs.) should take about 2 to 2.5 hours. If you stuff your turkey it will take longer.
- Check your temperature by inserting a cooking thermometer into the fleshy part of the thigh until you reach 170 degrees.
- Take the turkey out of the oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes. Remember the turkey will still be cooking even after it’s out of the oven. Also by waiting, you’re letting all those delicious juices rest in the turkey which makes it so delicious and doesn’t dry out the white meat.
This method is so easy it takes the stress out of cooking such a big meal along with cutting down the cooking time.
Because you are blasting the turkey on high heat along with brining it, all the juices will be held inside the bird and the crispy skin that everyone loves will be consistent over the entire turkey.
So trust me on this one, try it this year! Enjoy your family and make those memories that will be talked about in years to come.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Stafford Family to all of you!