Share how you prepare your turkey?

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10 Years
Apr 4, 2009
Eastern North Carolina
Thai turkey had a great idea for us to share how we prepare our turkeys. We have members from all over the world and different cultures so it will give us all a different spin and new cooking ideas. For day to day turkey we started skinning the bird and cutting them up. There is just the two of us at the house now so a whole turkey is just toooooo much. That gives us two boneless skinless breast fillets, two leg 1/4's and wings plus the giblets. Sometimes we save the body and cook it down for soup stock, that's more of a cold weather thing.

Last night we cooked a turkey breast fillet on the charcoal grill. I marinated it in blush wine with a little teriyaki sauce for about 2 hours, seasoned with salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika.



10 Years
Jul 26, 2009
Well, I'm pretty "traditional" in how I do it -- soak it out for a long time first in lightly salted water to draw out as much of the "blood" as possible (I know it's not really blood, probably more like lymph fluids). Rinse it well, scrub it off, remove as much excess free fat as possible, pat it dry, rub it inside and out with an herb rub (generally, I use sage, rosemary, onion and garlic powder, celery seed, black pepper, and a little salt). I generally rub the breast with either oil or butter too. I like to put the neck and giblets into a foil packet with their own herb rub and put that right inside the cavity. I also put a couple of peeled onions, ribs of celery, carrots, and a couple of cored but NOT peeled apples into the cavity.

I generally start it in a very hot oven, 525, for about 15 minutes to sear it and start the browning, and then reduce to 350 until its done. I baste it probably every 30 minutes during the cooking process, and I always put it up on a rack in the roasting pan and remove pan juices as I go so it's not sitting in liquid. I like to flip it over at least once during the process so the back browns, too. At some point, I generally wrap the wing tips and tips of the drumsticks in foil to prevent burning.

I NEVER stuff the cavity with stuffing -- I do that in a separate pan generally, or sometimes around the bird in the roasting pan if there is room for it, and after it's mostly done and I've taken off all of the liquid I need to make gravy.

Pretty basic, really.

I like to experiment in the kitchen, and there are a lot of good recipes or methods for turkey that I would love to try some Thanksgiving, but unfortunately the family is more "traditional" in their tastes and would complain. Heck, I got into trouble the year I put a little bit of orange zest in the cranberries.


In the Brooder
9 Years
Sep 6, 2010
West Central GA
I haven't had a home-raised turkey yet, but my favorite way with store-bought is to brine (kosher salt, brown sugar, smashed garlic, water) overnight, then roast halves in a flat rotisserie basket over charcoal. Amazingly good.



9 Years
May 10, 2010
CA High Desert
LOL I am finally figureing this out myself. My husbands family have never thanked me for bringing a dish or complemented me on it in 35 year. I thought they where just rude. I thought they were the bad cooks because everything comes out of a package or box. Even the turkey is that pressed boxed frozen turkey. Everyone else loves my cooking. Since my mother in law died, we are spending more time with my father in law and my husband sisters. I have learned alot since then. They have to be the pickest eaters I have ever met. If it has any taste, they won't touch it. I hate cooking for people like this. My husband and I are both foodies and eat just about anything that good. I guess I got him young enough to develop his taste.
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10 Years
Mar 22, 2009
New Mexico
I found this recipe on line (from Good Eats) a few years ago and love it. This will be the first year with home grown turkeys. Of course neither of the hens we kept is 14-16 lbs. More like 22-26lbs.

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat: ( I do it at least 24x48 hrs before)

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cover breast with foil. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
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9 Years
May 10, 2010
CA High Desert
Emeril's Deep-Fried "Cajun" Turkey
From Chef and author Emeril Lagasse


2 8-14 lb turkeys
10 gallons peanut oil
1 cup salt
1/2 tbsp cayenne
1/4 tbsp black pepper

Emeril's Cajun Marinade

2 tablespoon Lea & Perrins worcestershire
1 tablespoon crab boil
1/4 cup apple cider
3/4 cup honey
1 bottled beer
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 cup essence or Creole spice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
pinch of clove


40-60 quart pot with basket, burner and propane tank
candy thermometer to measure heat oil
meat thermometer to test turkey doneness
safety goggles
fire-safe gloves and pot holders
fire extinguisher
seasoning injector


1. Season and cure the turkey with salt, pepper and cayenne. Rub seasoning on skin and let sit overnight.

2. In a blender, add all the wet ingredients and then the dry ingredients to make the marinade. Puree on high for 4-6 minutes. Make sure all ingredients are completely pureed and add to an injector.

3. Heat oil to 350 degrees F. Depending on the amount of oil used, this usually takes between 45 minutes and one hour. (To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey in the basket and place in the pot. Add water until it reaches 1 to 2 inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the water level, using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Pour out water and dry the pot thoroughly. Be sure to measure for oil before breading or marinating the turkey.)

4. While the oil is heating, prepare the turkey as desired.

5. Once the oil has come to temperature, place the turkey in the basket and slowly lower into the pot. Whole turkeys require approximately 3 minutes per pound to cook. Remove turkey and check internal temperature with meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 170 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh. Turkey parts such as breast, wings and thighs require approximately 4 to 5 minutes per pound to come to temperature.


9 Years
May 10, 2010
CA High Desert
Brined and Roasted Turkey
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2001
Prep Time: 1 hr 0 min Inactive Prep Time: 4 hr 0 min Cook Time: 4 hr 0 min Level:
Intermediate Serves:
8 servings Ingredients
1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey
Brine, recipe follows
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large yellow onion, cut into 8ths
1 large orange, cut into 8ths
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting
Turkey Broth:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Reserved turkey neck and giblets
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 small bay leaf
3 cups turkey stock, chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth
3 cups water
4 cups turkey broth
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.

Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. Place breast side down in a large, heavy roasting pan, and rub on all sides with the butter. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and thyme. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.

For the turkey broth: Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan and saute until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour the stock and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about 1 hour, adding the chopped liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Pull the meat off the neck, chop the neck meat and giblets, and set aside.

Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.

Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

For the pan gravy: Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass-measuring cup and skim off the fat. Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat add the pan juice and 1 cup turkey broth and the white wine to the pan, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cup of broth and bring to a simmer, then transfer to a measuring cup.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Add the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved neck meat and giblets to the pan and adjust seasoning, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.

1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 oranges, quartered
2 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a non-reactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, plastic garbage bag.) Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary.

Note: if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.


10 Years
Mar 22, 2010
Wow! Your "traditional", makes my traditional sound like puppy chow, lol. Thank you so much for posting this. I can't wait to try your recipe. I only have 3 turkeys right now and none of them are going to be Thanksgiving dinner, but next year I will have more and one of those are going to be part of our feast!
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