How to Cook a Turkey

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Thanksgiving is around the corner and your family is expecting a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. If you’ve never cooked a turkey before, where do you start?

how_to_roast_a_turkeyBrining a turkey ensures it is moist (basic recipes include salt, sugar and water).

Smoking a turkey creates a flavourful bird (but you need a smoker).

Bar b q-ing a turkey frees up your oven for cooking side dishes (and it gives your husband something to do instead of watching football).

Then, there is the famous 45 minute roast turkey recipe found on the internet (it’s called “spatchcocking” and works with any bird you want to roast. Remove the backbone and flatten the bird before cooking.)

There are those turkeys-in-a-box which you cook from frozen. Fried turkey. Tur-duck-en (Turkey – stuffed with duck – stuffed with chicken).

So many ways to cook a turkey…it can be overwhelming…you almost want to flip the bird at the whole thing.

To make things easier I’ve compiled the most basic “How to Cook a Turkey” for the everycook in all of us:



  • Roasting pan
  • Roasting rack
  • Aluminum foil
  • Turkey Baster



  • The turkey
  • Stuffing (if you so chose)
  • Butter (or oil)
  • A glass of wine (not for the bird – for the cook – you deserve some lubrication!)



  1. Introduce yourself to the turkey. A good relationship always starts with proper introduction.
  2. Turn the oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). (take a sip of that wine)
  3. Ensure turkey is defrosted.
  4. Wash hands.
  5. Remove the giblets (usually stuffed inside a bag found inside the turkey’s who-ha).
  6. Rinse the turkey inside and out. Then pat it dry. (sip wine)
  7. If you are stuffing the turkey – now’s the time – stuff it loosely between skin and meat.
  8. Brush the skin with butter (or oil).
  9. Tie drumsticks with string. (sippy wine time)
  10. Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh (apologize to the turkey for poking).
  11. Re-locate the turkey to it’s new home on the roasting rack, situated in the roasting pan. (think: bird condo without a view).
  12. Wash hands again (clean hands deserve another glass of wine)
  13. When turkey-lurkey turns a golden colour – cover the skin with an aluminum foil tent.
  14. Baste at will.
  15. Remove foil tent in last 30 minutes of cooking.


    A 10-14lb turkey should roast 3 – 3 ½ hours (unstuffed) or 3 ½ – 4 hours (stuffed).

    Turkey is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and/or when the juices from the thigh run clear.

    When done, remove turkey from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let turkey hang loose and rest for 20 minutes before cutting.

    In the event of #turkeyfail – order pizza.

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