Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving holiday recipes! Hopefully your families enjoy them as much as ours do.
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Basil
- 2 tsp Seasoned Salt
- 1 tsp Sage
- 1 tsp Paprika
For a flavorful and juicy alternative way of preparing your turkey or turkey breast, prepare a brine using:
- 1-cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 -cup kosher salt
- 1-gallon water
- 1-tspn. Rosemary
- 1-tspn. Thyme
- 1-sliced orange
- Bring all ingredients to a boil.
- Remove from heat and chill.
- Put in a container (cooler, plastic bucket, cooking pot etc.) for (1 hr. per pound), keeping it cold. Take turkey out of container, rinse and place in cooking container and cook as usual.
Roasting the Whole Turkey
To prepare – Discard plastic bag. Remove neck and giblets from body cavities, rinse turkey and wipe dry. Cook neck and giblets for broth, to add to dressing and for giblet gravy.
To roast – Place turkey with the breast up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan with approximately 1/2″ water on the bottom. Brush with melted butter, if desired. Rub body cavity lightly with salt if roasting unstuffed. It is recommended that a meat thermometer be used. Place thermometer in the thickest part of the breast or thigh; the bulb should not touch any bone. Cook at 450 degrees F uncovered for 45 minutes. Cover and reduce the temperature to 325° F until meat thermometer registers 170 degrees F, using the chart below as a guide for length of roasting time. A “tent” of foil placed loosely over turkey may be used and will eliminate need for basting, although turkey may be basted if desired. Remove foil last half-hour for browning. If V-rack is used, place turkey breast down. Fat from back tends to permeate the breast meat to keep it from drying. NOTE: Our free-range turkeys do cook faster, especially when using a roaster, do check for doneness with a meat thermometer beginning one hour before the anticipated finish time.
Turkey is done when:
(a) roast-meat thermometer registers 170° to 175° F in the breast meat or 180° F in the thigh meat
(b) juices are clear when probed with a knife or fork.
To stuff a turkey safely – Stuffing should be prepared and stuffed into the turkey immediately before it is placed in the oven for roasting. If preparing the stuffing ahead of time, wet and dry ingredients should be refrigerated separately and combined right before stuffing the turkey. Stuff the turkey loosely, about 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey. Once the thermometer shows the correct reading for the turkey, move the thermometer to the center of the stuffing. The stuffing should reach 160° to 165° F before the turkey is removed from the oven.
Turkey Breast and Boneless Turkey Roast
To roast – Remove from bag; do not remove the netting from the roast. Place on rack in a shallow baking pan. Brush with melted butter or margarine (optional). Rub lightly with salt. Roast at 325° F until thermometer registers 170° to 175° F. If the breast or roast becomes too brown during roasting, cover loosely with foil. Allow to stand 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. Using cooking bags or the covered roaster method is also acceptable.
Heating Your Smoked Turkey
Take your whole smoked turkey or smoked turkey breast out of the bag. Heat in a covered pan with 1/8″ to 1/4″ water or broth at 250 degrees F. for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. It is fully cooked so it can be served cool, warm or hot.
Your spiral glazed smoked turkey breast can be heated in a covered pan (with bag and foil removed) with a little water or broth. Another option is to take breast out of the bag leaving on the foil. Then, tent the foil making sure the entire breast is covered and place on a baking sheet and heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 250 degrees F.
After you have enjoyed these gourmet delights, we suggest you use the remaining bones and tidbits to create a delicious, full-bodied soup stock!
Roasting Time Chart
Whole Turkey (unstuffed) –
Weight Roaster/Cooking Bag Foil Covered
12-16 lbs. 2-3 hours 3-4 hours
17-22 lbs. 3-4 hours 4-5 hours
23-27 lbs. 4-5 hours 5-6 hours
Breast & Roast (unstuffed) –
5-7 lbs. 2-3 hours 3-4 hours
8-10 lbs. 3-4 hours 4-5 hours
11-12 lbs. 4-5 hours 5-6 hours
- 4 cups of liquid - stock, plus pan drippings from roasting the turkey
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 4 ounces all purpose flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- What liquid you use it up to you. I always simmer the giblets and neck of the turkey, covered, along with some onion, carrot and celery for a couple hours while the turkey is roasting. Give it a stir every so often. Strain out all of the solids [you can chop the giblets to add back into the finished gravy, but they have pretty much given their all, so I usually don't], and set the liquid aside in a 3 quart sauce pan, in which you will be making the gravy.
- When the turkey is done roasting, while it rests, pour off all of the pan drippings. Remove as much of the fat as you can [you can actually save it to make a roux for gravy for the leftovers]. I like to use a fat separator for this, but you can just spoon it off.
- Combine the pan dripping with the stock in the sauce pan. If it is more than 4 cups, you can reduce it down by boiling it, or remove the excess and save for the leftover. If it is less than 4 cups, bring it up to that level by adding a good quality low sodium chicken broth.
- Melt the butter in a wide saute pan. You can let it sizzle for a couple minutes to reduce some of moisture in it, which will shorten the time it takes to brown the roux, since part of that time is taken with cooking off that moisture - it's faster before you add the flour.
- Add the flour all at once, and begin whisking constantly, over medium low heat. It should be bubbling nicely, but not spattering at all, so adjust the heat if needed.
- It may be looking a little lumpy and shaggy at first, but it will smooth out gradually.
- Continue cooking and whisking, making sure to thoroughly reach all of the edges, so that you don't get any burned spots.
- For this gravy, you want a color a little darker than peanut butter. It will be very smooth.
- When it's done, remove the pan from the heat, and scrape the roux into a heat safe container. if I am making the gravy right away, I use a heat safe glass measuring cup with a handle, which makes it really easy to slowly add the roux to the stock. Usually though, I am making it ahead to so I use a ramekin or small metal bowl. At this point the roux can be refrigerated until you need it. It will keep at least a couple weeks. If you are in the midst of roasting the turkey when you make it, it will be fine at room temperature for hours.
- Several hours before you are ready to make the gravy, take the roux out of the fridge so it can come to room temperature - if it has separated at all, just stir it back together.
Make the gravy
- Bring the stock and pan drippings up to a low boil.
- Stirring constantly, gradually add the roux - about ¼ of it at a time - allowing it to fully return to a low boil after each addition.
- Continue adding each ¼, until you get to the desired consistency. This gravy will continue to thicken as it cools to serving temperature, so leave it slightly thinner than you want it to be.
- Cook the gravy at a simmer for a couple minutes so that it reaches it's full thickness.
- I like to keep a bit of chicken or turkey stock handy, just in case the gravy needs to be thinned at all. If it is not thickened enough when all of the roux is added, reduce it down a little, by simmering another 5 minutes or so, stirring very frequently.
- Serve hot. Reheat over gentle heat, stirring often. refrigerate leftovers
The velvety richness of this gravy is pretty impressive – it really elevates the whole meal. Probably because we like to drizzle it over just about everything on the plate, but isn’t that what you’re supposed to do on Thanksgiving Day?