By Nicole Anderson
The holidays always mean family and FOOD! The Thanksgiving turkey recipe is key to a good meal. Here are 5 of the top turkey recipes for your holiday meal. These recipes range from traditional to unique and there is even a beginner turkey recipe!
EASY BEGINNER’S TURKEY WITH STUFFING
This easy to make turkey is great for beginners, but experts will find it equally delicious. Adjust the cooking time for different sized birds.
12 pounds Fresh Whole Turkey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (6 ounce) package dry bread stuffing mix
1 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 slices toasted white bread, torn into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Rinse turkey, remove giblets and place in a shallow roasting pan.
2. Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Mix in water.
3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and slowly cook and stir the celery and onion until tender.
4. Mix celery, onion, and toasted bread pieces into the stuffing, and season with salt and pepper. Loosely scoop stuffing into the turkey body cavity and neck cavity. Rub the exterior of the turkey with vegetable oil.
5. Loosely cover turkey with aluminum foil, and roast 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F (85 degrees C) and the interior of the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F (70 degrees C). Remove foil during the last half hour of cooking to brown the bird.
TRADITIONAL OVEN TURKEY
1 frozen turkey (12 lb.), thawed
3 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh or 2 tsp. dried herbs, such as thyme, sage or rosemary
3 cups water
Thaw turkey completely before grilling. To thaw, place turkey on tray in refrigerator. Refrigerate until thawed, allowing 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 pounds of turkey.
PREHEAT grill to medium-high heat. Remove neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse outside of turkey as well as inside the cavity; pat dry with paper towels. Tuck the wings under the back. Place turkey, breast side up, on roasting rack in large disposable aluminum foil pan.
RUB outside of turkey with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with herbs. Place pan on grate of grill. Add water to pan, then close the lid of the grill.
GRILL turkey 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 180°F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh and 170°F when inserted in the thickest part of the breast, adding additional water to the pan as needed to prevent the drippings from burning and to have enough liquid remaining in the pan after turkey is cooked for use in making gravy. Remove turkey from grill; let stand 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, use pan drippings to make gravy, if desired.
For extra flavor, stuff the turkey cavity with a peeled onion, celery stalks, lemon slices and/or fresh herb bundles before grilling.
This is a perfect recipe for a moist, flavorful holiday bird! Plan the time to brine the bird overnight – it’s worth the extra effort!
1 (18 pound) Foster Farms Fresh Whole Turkey, neck and giblets removed
2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
1. Rub the turkey inside and out with the kosher salt. Place the bird in a large stock pot, and cover with cold water. Place in the refrigerator, and allow the turkey to soak in the salt and water mixture 12 hours, or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Thoroughly rinse the turkey, and discard the brine mixture.
3. Brush the turkey with 1/2 the melted butter. Place breast side down on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan. Stuff the turkey cavity with 1 onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and the bay leaf. Scatter the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan, and cover with the white wine.
4. Roast uncovered 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Carefully turn the turkey breast side up about 2/3 through the roasting time, and brush with the remaining butter. Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving.
HONEY SMOKED TURKEY
Sweet and light, this is the easiest way to cook a big bird! It will be the best turkey you have ever had. The breast is moist and juicy, and the honey makes a great thin sauce. I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends and family do when I make it. I never have any leftovers! Enjoy!
1 (12 pound) Fresh Whole Turkey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons celery salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (12 ounce) jar honey
1/2 pound mesquite wood chips
1. Preheat grill for high heat. If you are using a charcoal grill, use about twice the normal amount of charcoal. Soak wood chips in a pan of water, and set next to the grill.
2. Remove neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse the bird and pat dry. Place in a large disposable roasting pan.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together sage, ground black pepper, celery salt, basil, and vegetable oil. Pour mixture evenly over the turkey. Turn the turkey breast side down in the pan, and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
4. Place the roasting pan on the preheated grill. Throw a handful of the wood chips onto the coals. Close the lid, and cook for 1 hour.
5. Throw about 2 more handfuls of soaked wood chips on the fire. Drizzle 1/2 the honey over the bird, and replace the foil. Close the lid of the grill, and continue cooking 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
6. Uncover turkey, and carefully turn it breast side up in the roasting pan. Baste with remaining honey. Leave the turkey uncovered, and cook 15 minutes. The cooked honey will be very dark.
MAPLE ROAST TURKEY AND GRAVY
A New England style turkey with maple syrup. It makes for a mellow Thanksgiving dinner. Try stuffing it with Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing. If fresh marjoram is unavailable, 2 teaspoons of dried marjoram may be substituted.
14 pounds Fresh Whole Turkey, neck and giblets reserved
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
Maple Butter Mixutre
2 cups apple cider
1/3 cup real maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
3/4 cup butter
alt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons apple brandy (optional)
1. Boil apple cider and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 of the thyme and marjoram and all of the lemon zest. Add the butter, and whisk until melted. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until cold (syrup can be made up to 2 days ahead).
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place oven rack in the lowest third of oven.
3. Wash and dry turkey, and place in a large roasting pan. Slide hand under skin of the breast to loosen. Rub 1/2 cup of the maple butter mix under the breast skin. If planning on stuffing turkey, do so now. Rub 1/4 cup of the maple butter mixture over the outside of the turkey. With kitchen string, tie legs of turkey together loosely.
4. Arrange the chopped onion, chopped celery, and chopped carrot around the turkey in the roasting pan. If desired, the neck and giblets may be added to the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining thyme and marjoram over the vegetables, and pour the chicken stock into the pan.
5. Roast turkey 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cover turkey loosely with foil. Continue to roast, about 3 to 4 hours unstuffed or 4 to 5 hours stuffed, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C) and stuffing reaches 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). Transfer turkey to a platter, and cover with foil. Reserve pan mixture for gravy. Allow turkey to sit about 25 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.
6. To Make Gravy: Strain pan juices into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from juices. Add enough chicken stock to make 3 cups. Transfer liquid to a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, mix reserved maple butter mixture with flour to form a paste, and whisk into the broth. Stir in thyme, bay leaf, and apple brandy. Boil until reduced and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.