I love Turkey, Like seriously one of my all time favorite meala! I make a Turkey as often as I can, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter at least! I’ve made around 30+ turkey’s over the last 16 years since I’ve been hosting Thanksgiving. And I have tried a lot of different techniques to get a flavorful, juicy turkey. Injecting, brining, roasting, deep frying, basting, stuffed, unstuffed, etc… Some of these taste amazing, most of them are very dry and ALL of them take a lot of work.
And now I’m going to share my all time favorite way with you guy! In the early years I used Reynolds bags, I loved how moist and juicy the turkey ends up, BUT because your cooking it in a plastic bag your turkey isn’t very pretty, kind of unattractive and sickly looking. BUT it tastes amazing and it’s super easy, so I wanted to find a similar way to cook the Turkey, Easy and Moist.
THEN I learned this brown bag method! BRILLIANT! The bag keeps your turkey juicy and moist without the extra work of basting, AND because brown paper bags breath better than plastic you still get a great brown on the skin, you end up with a gorgeous centerpiece that tastes great!
You can prepare the Turkey ANY way you want, injections, stuffed, putting a mixture under the skin, etc… I like to use a compound butter! But the key is a Meat Thermometer. It’s a MUST for cooking a Turkey and not OVER cooking it. A digital one is easy to use and takes a lot of the work out of your turkey.
I prefer to use a disposable pan as well. That way I don’t have to store a big pan for just three meals a year AND (this is the most important part to me) I can pop a hole in the bottom corner and easily pour all the turkey juice into the gravy recipe without having to try to pour it out with a hot turkey in the pan.
- Turkey (I cook 18-20 lbs usually)
- 2 Brown paper bags
- 2 onions sliced
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 C softened butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp rosemary'
- 1 Tbsp thyme
- 1/2 Tbsp sage
- 8 cloves garlic diced
- 1 shallot finely diced
- I like to make a compound butter a few days before
- mix the softened butter with the minced herbs, salt and pepper, garlic and shallots, wrap and refrigerate
- IF you don't make a compound butter you simply rube the butter and spices into the turkey the day of
- Preheat your oven to 375
- clean your thawed turkey with cool water, making sure to take out the neck and gizzards (you can save for making Turkey Stock or throw out)
- Pat your turkey dry and place it into a pan (I use a disposable one for easy access to the drippings later)
- toss the sliced onions and crushed garlic into the pan and cavity of your turkey (not filling the cavity, just a small sprinkling), this will help flavor the drippings as well (for gravy)
- Pull the skin away from the meat in the breast and thigh areas - place thin slices of the compound butter in between the skin and meat, use MOST of the compound butter
- now rub it all over the outside of the turkey with the compound butter, don't forget the legs, wings and underside.
- massage it in very well.
- Put your meat thermometer into the breast of the turkey, making sure it doesn't touch any bone.
- Open your brown paper bags, slide the turkey/pan into one bag, then from the opposite side slide the turkey/pan and first bag into the second bag.
- They will overlap and encase the turkey, it's perfect.
- the butter on your turkey will keep it from sticking, and as long as your paper bag isn't touching a heating element it won't burn (paper burns at 451 degrees)
- Place your turkey into the oven and cook until your meat thermometer reads 180 (I actually pull mine out at 175, it goes up to 180 when resting) about 13-15 mins per lbs unstuffed.
- Pull your turkey out and let it rest for 15 mins, then pour the drippings into a pan to make your gravy
- then plate and serve!
I dressed mine up with some Lemon branches, but you can add anything you want to yours, I’ve seen really pretty ones with bright berries, stuffing, potatoes, apples, and more! How do you like to dress up your turkey?
AND I’ve created an ecookbook FILLED with 43 of my from scratch Thanksgiving recipes – some from the blog but a ton of recipes that AREN’T on the blog that you will love!
MORE Thanksgiving Dinner recipes: