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Thanksgiving Turkey 2020

Hey, hi, hello! Welcome to my food blog, where I plan to blow your mind with some bomb recipes while emphasizing nutrition! This blog has been a long time coming, so I’m pretty stoked to be writing this first blog post. And what better way to start a blog then talking about Thanksgiving foods?!

This was my first year hosting Thanksgiving dinner and it was with my in-laws. No pressure, RIGHT?! HA! I say hosting Thanksgiving for the first time feels like a right of passage, like you’ve officially reached adulthood when family members trust you to make the turkey and provide entertainment for the weekend. Woo hoo! It only took me 29 years…

Let me preface this story by saying that the turkey actually turned out DELICIOUS!

Anyway, I never made a turkey before and the stakes were high to impress the family. There needs to be good flavor, can’t be too dry, proper thawing, cooking to a certain temperature, so on and so forth. There’s a lot that goes into this dang turkey. So I decided to buy a 20-pound turkey for 6 people. You could say I overestimated a bit due to the fact we have 2 giant tubs full of leftover turkey…

When it came to prepping the turkey, I had done some research to know that I needed to thaw my 20-pound turkey a solid week in advance. Our refrigerator keeps things a little cooler than needed at times, so I had to make sure I allowed ample time in case the insides were still a little frozen.

After knowing how to thaw the turkey, I then had to figure out the process for cooking it. There are so many recipes and references out there that I just decided to combine a few methods and hope for the best. My method came from a combination of a cooking class I took last year, this article, and gut instincts. Again, no pressure…

Here was my process for this turkey:

Thawing – The turkey was thawed in the refrigerator for 7 days for a 20-pound turkey. I left it in its original packaging in a large baking dish, so raw turkey drippings didn’t get all over the refrigerator.

Day-before prep – I removed the packaging from the turkey, put the turkey in its roasting rack, and put it back in the refrigerator so the outside could dry out. Iremoved the turkey neck and the bag of innards and placed them in the bottom of the roasting rack. I also took 2 sticks of room-temperature salted butter and mixed it with a bunch of fresh herbs (sage, thyme, and rosemary) to use for the turkey the next day.

Day-of prep – Take out the turkey so it can sit at room temperature for 20-40 minutes. Then, I separated the skin from the meat using my hands and rubbed salt on the meat underneath the skin. Next, I took the herb butter and rubbed it under the skin and all over the outside of the turkey. I stuffed the inside of the turkey with a green apple, fresh herbs, and an onion, then tied the legs together and stuck the wings under the turkey. This helps it to cook evenly.

Cooking – My oven was preheated to 425 degrees F. I covered the turkey with foil and placed in the oven for 60 minutes. Once the turkey cooked for an hour, I removed the foil and reduced the heat to 350 degrees F. To be honest, I didn’t really know how long the turkey was going to take to cook, so I put a thermometer in the turkey and waited until the thickest part hit 165 degrees F. This probably took about another 3 or so hours.

Resting – After the turkey was done, I took it out of the oven and covered it with foil so it would stay warm but it could also rest. I had anticipated resting the turkey for about 30-45 minutes, but it actually rested for about 1.5 hours just due to timing of events. While it may not have needed to rest that long, I’m slightly convinced the longer resting period made the bird super juicy!

Carving – I have nothing for you on carving… I had my father-in-law tackle this one.

After all of that prep, viola! The bird turned out beautiful, tender, and tasty as ever!

Herb butter Thanksgiving turkey

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