How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey Testimonials Page 10

  • I found your recipe and am giving it a shot now for a second Thanksgiving I am having for just friends. I did read a lot of reviews and all of the bad experiences, and think that one thing that might be causing all of these bad experiences is that since the oven is so low, people who don't have a wireless thermometer have to not open and close the oven several times to check the temperature because the oven loses all the heat and at such a low temperature, has to take longer to heat back up. People should note the time and not open the oven again until the time is up. ALSO, if they are cooking anything else in the oven with the turkey, it is going to take a lot longer…just something to note. I will make an attempt at your recipe now and e-mail you with my results.

    Later update...
    I just wanted to say that I understand why the other people may have been checking the oven all the time. I have an hour left, and it is taking every ounce of willpower not to open it because it smells amazing! Once I take it out, I will send a review for you, which I am sure will be glowing, and some pictures of it as well.

    Still later update...
    Nolan, the recipe was amazing! The turkey came out perfectly! I have to stand by what I said before, people need to make sure to cook it on the higher setting, then turn it down, and then start the clock, and make sure not to open the oven or it will take longer to cook. 16.6 lb bird cooked in 5 hours total… amazing! David F., 11/27/11
  • I followed your directions and it turned out great! Thanks!
    Lee P., 11/27/11
  • I cooked a 20 # bird and followed most of your directions.

    I was in the business 28 years but can always learn something new.

    I thawed it out in the Refrig. for about 3 days. I took it out of the Ref. about 5:00am Thursday Morning. (to be sure it was not chilled)

    I unwrapped it, washed it really good, pulled out the neck and giblets etc and left it to warm up naturally in the sink. I left the skin and giblets and neck in the pan to add to the drippings which came out awesome for stock of which to use to make the gravy.

    About 8:00am I prepared the turkey for the oven.

    I seasoned it with Salt and Pepper, and sprinkled a little garlic salt on it as well. I then oiled it down with Veg. Oil, and placed it on a rack which set the bird about one inch off the bottom of the large pan. I also had about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan.

    This was to collect the drippings and prevent a burning of drippings in the bottom. (Easier to clean the pan too.) I then covered the bird with Diced celery and onions.

    I had the oven set on 450 degrees as per your recommendation. I cooked the bird, covered with Tin Foil, for 20 minutes. Then I turned the oven off and reset it to cook at 250 degrees. I was in the Confection mode. This process started about 8:10am. I tested the bird at Noon. (4 hours later) and the breast temped at 170 and the Thigh at 180 degrees. We are talking one hour less then recommended. Our altitude here is 2200 feet. I was surprised it came out done in one hour less then expected. Good thing I decided to check it early. I removed the tinfoil and kicked the temp up to 425 and let it brown off a bit.

    We found it to be super juicy, and tender. It was cooked to perfection. I found the site very helpful. Most of the time we are doing a 12 to 14 pound bird.

    I usually would take a 20 # bird and completely debone it. We cook the breast and deboned thighs together in the same manner I mentioned about for the whole turkey. Same way. Just not on a rack. I place the breast skin down and the thighs skin up. I got a ton of experience deboning birds at Morrison's Cafeterias.

    Once I saw 70 large turkeys used for the serving line and all were deboned of course before cooked. That day the cafeteria fed over 4300 customers. Mercy.!!!!

    Most units back then would sell the Take Out birds 12 # size with a two quart pan of cornbread dressing and a quart of gravy. Most units sold some 350 turkeys and in some cases the higher volume units would sell some 750 birds over a two day period. Operations then went 24 hours a day for at least two days and in the higher volume units it want on 24 hours for 4 or 5 days. Remember there were tons of pies to cook as well.

    Hope I did not leave anything out.

    I like your site. MCP 11/27/11
  • I followed your recipe and turned out the best turkey I ever had, I did need to roast it an extra 30 minutes, but I dont think my turkey was completely thawed even after 4 days in the fridge, thanks for sharing your knowledge and for helping me make great turkey! Woody D., 11/30/11
  • I cannot even describe to you how Wonderful this year's turkey turned out, using your method. I used a completely thawed frozen turkey at 21 pounds. I cooked it breast up. It turned out to be the most flavorful and most moist turkey I have ever eaten, and the leftovers were savory too because they weren't dried little bits. The only thing I wish I had done was to brown the top more but I didn't want to overcook it. Unfortunately I was so harried getting the rest of the meal on the table, I forgot to take pictures! Just wanted to extend a thank you for your cooking advice! Any suggestions for making cream of turkey soup?
    Thank you again, Tracy S. and the whole family 12/1/11
  • I don't have any pictures but I made a turkey last night just to experiment with new recipes and I decided to try yours! I had to improvise at some areas such as using an aluminum roasting pan and tin foil to cover the turkey. Other then that it turned out perfect! Next time I'm going to cook it with the breast laying down and hopefully it'll turn out even more juicy! Robert G., 12/2/11
  • Your method is almost identical to my mother-in-law's and she has an amazing bird every year.

    For the people who have undercooked birds? Make sure the tin foil is 'loosely' covering the turkey not sealing the top. Also pay attention to which way the shiny side of the tinfoil is facing. Shiny side out reflects heat away from the bird vs. reflecting it back down onto the bird (could explain a lot of your raw complaints).

    Lastly – for the fat at heart – a package of the fattiest bacon you can find draped over the bird in a 'fat blanket' is an amazing tip. Lift the bacon AND the tinfoil in the last half an hour and let the skin brown… talk about a JUICY bird??? YUMMY!!
    Jennifer M., 12/2/11
  • Some college friends and I were having a very fun Friendsgiving for those who couldn't go home for the holiday, which was made ever so much better by the best damn turkey any of us have ever had. It was actually my first time baking a turkey, though I helped my mom out this year to get a handle on what was going on. Despite that, what came out of the oven was just worlds better than anything my family has ever cooked. This was the one year that I enjoyed the light meat more than the dark (of which I have yet to come to terms with emotionally).

    I wanted to send you yet another glowing review of your recipe, and to say that next year my parents are going to experience something truly fantastic Thanksgiving day. So thank you for helping one more bird get cooked like for a king. Josh M. 12/6/11
  • Thank you! This was the second year I cooked a turkey following the steps on your web page. The were both the best turkeys ever. I am 47 and my entire family, including parents, just loved how juicy and tender the bird turned out. This year the both breast fell of the bone in one whole piece. I did however "stuff" the bird. Last year with onions, lemon and herbs. This year with onion, celery and an apple. Thank you for your many years of testing before you decided to share your wisdom with the web.

    My family thanks you.

    Kathy R., 12/8/11