Thanksgiving Week: The Turkey

If I were condemned to the firing squad, and able to pick my last meal, it would likely be the traditional thanksgiving meal. It wouldn’t be just any turkey, stuffing and gravy though, it would have to be the one I grew up eating.

Thanksgiving was a big day at my house growing up. My father was the gourmet cook in my house and left the day in and day out cooking drudgery to my mom (sorry mom). At one point when I was a young child he found his way to the following turkey, gravy and stuffing recipes. He liked to experiment, but we would never let him deviate from this.

I rarely get to cook on Thanksgiving. My wife’s family is somewhat large and very local, so typically it is hosted elsewhere. I miss cooking it so much that the other week I made the whole thing. So I am happy to announce:

Thanksgiving Week on The Rantings of an Amateur Chef!

Today: the bird
Wednesday: the best gravy you’ll ever taste
Thursday: stuffing/dressing
Friday: mashed potatoes
Saturday: cranberry dressing
Sunday: apples and carrots

First the turkey….

This bird is cooked low and slow and basted every 30 minutes. The skin turns out so beautiful and tasty.

This turkey was a big one – 22 pounds. I purchased it frozen so I took it out of the freezer on Tuesday morning and put it in the fridge. It took all that time to thaw for me to start cooking it on Sunday.

I chose to stuff the bird with dressing. I know there are many out there that warn you not to do it as by the time you get the inner cavities up to temperature the outside is dry, but we’ve never had any issues in dozens of attempts and the stuffing becomes so tasty.

Rubbing the outside with butter helps to drive that nice brown color.

The key to this bird is the basting. A combo of butter and red wine. You may have to start with that combination for the first four bastings before you have enough to baste from the drippings. Don’t skimp here. If you are going to continue on and make the gravy, you’ll want quite a bit to work with.

Turkeys 13 pounds or smaller should be cooked with the breast up those larger should be cooked with the breast down as this will help keep the breast meat juicy. Basting every 30 minutes for many hours can be a chore but you’ll be happy you did.

The turkey just falls apart when done.

My plate of deliciousness!!

Roast Turkey


  • About 3 Cups of Burgundy Wine
  • 1 lb of Butter (possibly more)
  • 1 Turkey*
  • Turkey Lacings


* Frozen turkeys will require several days of defrosting in the refrigerator (the preferred way) or ½ to 1 day with cold running water. Give yourself ½ day margin.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Take the turkey out of the bag; remove the gizzards and neck, run water in both cavities and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the insides with butter.

Pack, not tight, both cavities with dressing. Lace closed both openings. Lace the wings over the breast.

Place turkey on sturdy rack in pan. For turkeys 13 lbs or less, place the turkey breast up. For turkeys 14 lbs or greater, place the turkey breast down.

The general guidelines for turkey is 15 minutes per pound. As the oven is opened a lot for basting in this recipe, here are some revised timings: turkeys up to 14 pounds should cook for 19 minutes per pound. Turkeys between 15 and 19 pounds should cook for 18 minutes per pound. Turkeys between 20 and 24 pounds should cook for 17 minutes per pound. Turkeys between 25 and 30 pounds should cook for 16 minutes per pound.

Plan on removing the turkey from the oven 30 minutes prior to serving. Place turkey in the oven.

Every ½ hour baste the turkey. The first few bastings should be basted with a mixture of ¾ cup of wine and ¼ cup of melted butter. Later bastings should be performed using the drippings in the pan.

After 1 hour, you may need to cover the top of the turkey to protect it during cooking. Don’t wait for it to be perfectly browned before you do this as it will continue to brown under the foil, just more slowly.

When the turkey has cooked for the prescribed time and reached the desired temperature, remove from the oven, set aside and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Remove stuffing from cavities and keep warm.

After the turkey “rests” under foil for no less than 20 min (I give it 25), carve the turkey and serve.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: kosher, Low Carb, Main Dish, Recipes, Thanksgiving, Turkey, Wine

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at

28 Comments on “Thanksgiving Week: The Turkey”

  1. May 29, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    What a great post!!


  2. May 29, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    That’s interesting and sounds good that you baste with wine and butter


  3. May 29, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Mmm, looking forward to the gravy recipe!


  4. May 29, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Love it! My husband and I are really in love with the US and, even if we never had a Thanksgiving Day, we know we’ll like it! Thank u for the recipe, this year we’ll have our Thanksgiving’s Day for foreigners here in Switzerland 😉


  5. Missus Tribble
    May 29, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    That looks utterly devine!


  6. May 29, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Great idea to post way before Thanks Giving so we are ready ! Thank you.


  7. Geyer Jan
    May 29, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    We originally found this recipe in the Officers’ Wives Holiday Cookbook in the mid-70’s. It was so delicious that we never wanted to have holiday meals at anyone else’s house but ours! The gravy is to die for and the aroma kept us all begging for it to be done. Pat’s Mom


  8. May 29, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    We are turkey deep dryer’s in our house. I like the “Thanksgiving whenever you want it” idea! Yum!


  9. May 29, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    We are turkey deep fryer’s in our house. I like the “Thanksgiving whenever you want it” idea! Yum!


  10. May 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    I’ve always cooked the birds upside down as well. The last 30 minutes (actually, only for company) I’ll turn it over and brown the skin over the breast. I also always stuff the bird- this is the prime stuffing. I put the extra stuffing in a loaf pan and cook it, but it’s just to save for sandwiches. Secret ingredient in my stuffing: I use about 2/3 bread to 1/3 crushed Ritz crackers. They give it an amazing flavor.


  11. May 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Thanksgiving in May makes perfect sense to me. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week now!


  12. May 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    I love this recipe and intend to try it. Many of my friends are Muslim, so basting with wine is out of the question. Will I get the same result with non-alcoholic wine? I’m still in a huge learning curve here, learning to substitute other things for wines, etc in my recipes.


  13. May 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    I never thought of using red wine. Genius!


  14. May 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    love this! I’m kinda addicted to turkey


  15. May 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    We are huge turkey fans and love the idea of a Thanksgiving dinner this time of year. I am going to look for a good size turkey in my next shopping trip. I think it’s time for a bird. 🙂


  16. May 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    Nominated you for an illuminating blogger award, really enjoying your blog!


  17. May 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Turkey!Yum yum yum!! 🙂


  18. May 30, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    It looks delish…


  19. May 30, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    I stuff the cavity with aromatic fruits and veggies. Apple, onion, carrot, celery and the famous herbs, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (Heavy on the thyme of course).


  20. May 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    As Filipinos, we usually have Lechon for Thanksgiving or Christmas but on one particular year, we celebrated Christmas in my Uncle’s house. He happens to be an American so we had turkey! I loved it! ;p

    Excited for Friday! 🙂


  21. May 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Now THIS is an entry that makes my mouth water. It is fantastic. Looks delicious. I may have to try this on our next turkey…


  22. June 9, 2012 at 1:50 am #

    Your turkey really looks good! Do you use salted or unsalted butter? And no other seasoning like salt and pepper?



    • June 9, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      Unsalted with no other seasonings. With the wine and the butter, it really does not need it.


  23. November 18, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Reblogged this on My Meals are on Wheels and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)



  1. … Likes Roast Chicken with Sesame Oil & Rice Wine Marinade, and Oven-Sautéed Capsicums & Mushrooms « - June 18, 2012

    […] of an Amateur Chef, you would have come across his family’s pretty simple traditional Roast Thanksgiving Turkey, the key to which is the binary basting sauce of butter and red […]


  2. Thanksgiving Recipe Cornucopia « Rantings of an Amateur Chef - November 17, 2012

    […] The Turkey […]


  3. Searching for the Ranting Chef | Rantings of an Amateur Chef - February 21, 2014

    […] lb frozen turkey – That is one massive turkey and while I’ve featured a 22 lb turkey, it was cooked at […]


  4. Thanksgiving Recipe Cornucopia | Rantings of an Amateur Chef - November 21, 2014

    […] The Turkey […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: