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What is the best way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey?

Share your Thanksgiving turkey stories with me. What’s the best way to prep and cook a turkey? I’m doing it on my own for the first time (I’m 19 and out of the parents’ house).

Also, I’ll be cooking this turkey for myself, so if you have other good recipes for the leftovers (I’ll be eating this thing for days), then also share those.
I’m female.

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8 Responses to “What is the best way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey?”

  1. williamwymsdyn said:

    Haha very funny a guy fixing a turkey haha. My mom says don`t forget to take out the inside parts first like the heart and liver and stuff first .Otherwise your turkey is gonna taste terrible and won`t be safe to eat as well. Also she says don`t burn it. haha Will take you 6-8hours to cook in the oven . So get up at 4a.m.. to get ready to fix it. Not sure on temperature but sure it`s way above 300 degrees. ww

  2. Rosanne G said:

    ALONE on Thanksgiving! Invite a friend over!

    You can stuff a turkey with Stovetop stuffing! You can make a turkey salad or mix with mayo and make a sandwich with the leftovers or a soup with the turkey!
    My mom always makes a turkey! I have never done it either. Use one of the those turkey bags to keep moist. My mom puts bacon on top of it! Put butter inside and over it so stays moist!

  3. singinzgr8 said:

    Thawing and cleaning:
    Get the turkey (15 lbs is a typical size) and let it thaw in fridge for 3-4 days. 24 hrs for every 5 lbs is a good rule of thumb. The day of cooking, take out parts from the inside cavity of bird, and wash outside and inside with water. Pat dry with paper towels.

    Rub the outside of turkey with butter (or you can use oil if you want) and any herbs you like (rosemary, thyme, or sage perhaps) and salt & pepper. Place some fresh herbs like sage and/or rosemary on the inside and an onion (roughly sliced), and celery.

    Cooking: (I learned this cooking method from Alton Brown)
    Place turkey in roasting pan or on a rack on top of a pan. Preheat oven to 500, bake for 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350, cook 2-3 hours more. No need to baste….it’s really a waste of time. Get a thermometer if you can, and place it in the thick part of the breast meat (not touching the bone)…..take turkey out of oven at 160 degrees. Let it rest for 30 minutes before eating.
    Hope this helps.

    *Make your dressing (stuffing) on the side, NOT in the bird. Getting the temp correct on stuffing inside the bird is difficult and it can harbor a lot of bacteria when not cooked properly. Yuck.

  4. juicyfreak401 said:

    look on food network! pick your favorite one that looks good. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

  5. auntkelee said:

    the turkey package has dirrections for heating & how many hours per lb . when i bake them, i usually keep a piece of foil handy to throw over the top (not tight) so it doesn’t over-brown.

    bisquick has a good chicken pot pie recipe on the box you can use the turkey instead of chicken

  6. drpepper1106 said:

    This is what I do and my family loves it! Because it’s not dry!! lol
    you want to brine your turkey because it keeps it’s very moist!
    in a large pot add
    1 gallon veg. broth
    1 cup salt
    12 cup brown sugar
    a few pepper corns
    (don’t worry it won’t be salty or sweet)
    simmer to dissolve salt and sugar, cool then refrigerate
    the night before put your turkey in a CLEAN bucket with a lid (“head first”) add your brine and a gallon of ice water… leave in brine for 6-8 hours or over night
    dont worry about leaving your turkey out of the fridge bc the salt will keep away bacteria, but I still leave mine in the garage bc it’s cold in there this time of year.
    remove your turkey from the brine the next morning and rinse then pat dry
    put your turkey in a roasting pan (with rack) dont’ forget to remove the
    neck I forget that my first time! lol in the cavity I put thyme, sage, onion, celery, carrot (do not add much to the hole like stuffing! and if you do want to do what I do don’t add many veggies you want air to get in the cavity) rub a little canola oil over the whole turkey.
    per-heat your oven to 500 and place your turkey in the oven for 30 min… then lower the temp to 350 and cover only the breast with foil, and cook till the deepest part of the breast is 161 (get a probe thermometer with an alarm and set it to 161 so you don’t over cook your turkey, it helps a lot) when your alarm goes off take your turkey out of the oven and let rest for 25-30 min (don’t take the probe out till you let the turkey rest)

    I hope that made sense and if you have any questions email me at [email protected]

  7. Popple said:

    Hey, Ive had to spend Thanksgiving by myself (on my own, in a new area and no $$ for plane ticket home).

    I think a cooking bag works good for first timer. You get them in the grocery store and they are basically a giant plastic bag. The turkey will be moist and bast itself. Just be sure to put a little flour in the bag so it doesnt stick and poke holes for ventelation. Rubbing olive oil on the skin also helps. Through some fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, ect), apples, onion, lemon, whatever you like in the cavity for flavor. Some people still like to put the stuffing in the cavity, but this not only dries the bird out faster, it produces bacteria which can make you sick. Not good, especially if you will have a lot of leftovers.

    Check out or for some leftover ideas. Search for Alton Brown on the food network and watch his vids (also on He makes it FUN!!!

    Here are a couple I found:

    Good Luck!!!

  8. Aimee B said:

    I don’t like turkey. Whenever my husbands family makes it it is bland and boring BUT
    My husband and I came across this Tyler Florence recipe and I LOVE this turkey recipe. It is so flavorful and MOIST even the breast meat.
    all you need is
    2 sticks of butter
    1/2 bunch of fresh sage
    1/2 lb of applewood smoked bacon
    pure maple syrup.

    chop up the sage and meld it with the softned butter and loosen the skin on the turkey and stick it underneith the skin wherever you can.
    mix 1 cup of the maple syrup with 1/4 cup of hot water,, basting every 20 minutes or so. After 1 1/2 hours of cooking shingle the bacon on top of the turkey.
    conitinue to baste every 20 minutes until the thremometer reads 170 dgerees


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