I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner when I was 19 or 20 years old. It was in a little apartment on 6th avenue in Salt Lake City. The floor of the kitchen was covered in turquoise carpet, with matching turquoise counter tops, stove and fridge. Those were days before Google and Food Network. Days of trial and error. Many, many errors!
After years of cooking turkeys and trying to guess what time the turkey would be done (or if it was done at all) and the debate over should I or should I not baste the turkey, do I or don’t I cover the turkey in foil, I decided to go the poultry bag route. My mom was a believer for many years before I jumped on board, and Mom’s turkeys were always, always moist and delicious. Guess what? Mom was right. This is hands down, the easiest, most foolproof way of cooking a turkey I have found.
Here’s my step by step guide with tips below the recipe.
If this is your first time cooking a bird, or if you are a seasoned Thanksgiving host, you’ll love this method. In a couple of days, I’ll also post my turkey gravy in a pan and a method for producing moist stuffing that’s cooked outside of the turkey.
The countdown is on.
10 days till lift off.
Ready? Do yourself a favor. Read this step by step all of the way through right now.
Then once more before starting.
If you’re reading this and it’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and your turkey is still in the freezer. Get it out NOW. Place in the fridge and start thawing.
Gather these items and place on counter.
Didn’t use food handlers gloves this time, but if touching raw poultry makes you queasy,
get some. Not pictured, but important- the bag.
Place one tablespoon of flour inside of the bag and shake
so the flour coats the inside of the bag.Preheat the oven and adjust the rack.
Warning. The next few photos are of a n aked bird. Not attractive. But necessary in this tutorial.
Take the bird out of the packaging. It should be totally thawed.
I usually set it on a large jelly roll pan, or in a cleaned out sink.
Tip on its side and release any water. Pat dry with paper towels and discard.
Place bird on its tummy and tie with cotton string to keep the legs
and wings from drying out while cooking.
Observe in this photo how I was a little too aggressive in tying up my bird.
Poor thing. I tied him up so tight, that the strings ended up making an indent
in my beautiful turkey. Be firm, but gentle.
Here’s a better overall shot. Run the string under and on top of the bird, tie. Gently.
Then season with salt, pepper, garlic (or garlic salt) and poultry seasoning.
Place the turkey inside of the bag that has been coated with flour.
There he goes. Into the bag. And the pan. I love my All Clad Roasting Pan. An investment, but it will probably live longer than either of us! A really nice gift, for the cook in your life. Or for yourself 🙂
No action shot, but at this point, I drizzle olive oil and melted butter
(or sometimes I just dot the butter on top and skip the melting) on top of the turkey.
Gather the ends of the bag together and tuck under the bird.
Seal the end of the bag with the little twisty tie in the box.
Tuck under the turkey. Cut 5-6 one inch slits in the top of the bag.
Insert a meat thermometer into the bag on the outside of the plastic
so you can read it while it’s in the oven.
Or make sure there’s a place to insert an instant read thermometer.
Place it in the oven, just below the middle rack, remove any racks above the turkey.
Cook according to the size of turkey.
The gauge is reading 170 in this photo.
180 is what you’re looking for with a whole turkey if you insert the
thermometer in the turkey breast.
After the turkey has set out for about 10 minutes, gently remove the bag.
Cut the bag away and gently peel away from turkey. Cut the strings as well.
Use lifters or two big forks and transfer to a serving platter.
See the little white button? That’s the sensor the turkey people insert to tell you if the
turkey s done. Or not. I can’t tell you how many times my little sensor has not popped up.
ALWAYS use a thermometer.
Wow. Did you cook that?
That’s what your in laws are going to say.
Well, yes. I did.
Roast Turkey in a Bag
Use my recipe for Simple Pan Gravy to make amazing gravy to serve with your turkey.