“I hate turkeys. If you stand in the meat section at the grocery store long enough, you start to get mad at turkeys. There’s turkey ham, turkey bologna, turkey pastrami. Some one needs to tell the turkey, ‘man, just be yourself.’ “
— Mitch Hedberg
Yes, there is such a thing as an Easy Tender Turkey that doesn’t take much effort to have it turn out amazing!
We need to clarify one thing before we move on to making Easy Tender Turkey…
This is NOT the recipe for the Norman Rockwell Turkey.
You know the kind- Perfectly browned and beautifully set upon the table in which the head of feast proudly carves and serves from.
Pffft, this is the kind of turkey that is still extremely moist and tender days later when your fighting over the very last of the leftovers.
This Easy Tender Turkey almost carves it’s self as it falls right off the bone when done.
Hang in there a few minutes and you’ll see what in the yummy I’m up to.
Kenzie and Luc had parent teacher conferences last week.
The advantage of having several kiddos is that the schools are all familiar with our family.
Attending Kenzie’s conference the wonderful Mrs. F asked after the other kiddos and the about this blog Kenzie has talked about.
**Blushes.** Aww, I LOVE that my kiddos talk about the blog.
Wait… I didn’t ask if they we’re nice things being spoken.
When I told her that I write most often about food, she requested a turkey recipe.
She’s making the family holiday dinner.
When I purchased our Thanksgiving turkey, I made sure to purchase from Albertsons where I was able to take advantage of their buy one and get a coupon for a free turkey of equal or lesser value for another day.
CONFESSION: I make a full turkey at least once per month.
We’re weird like that. I obviously love to cook and the smell of a turkey filling the house makes us all excessively happy. When I get excellent deals like this I’ll stash several turkeys in our freezer making for a much cheaper excellent meal, that you just need to remember to defrost ahead of time.
Choosing a turkey- I prefer to keep my turkeys around 20 pounds.
It’s a personal preference and observation, making 2 smaller turkeys instead on 1 giant one keeps the turkeys far more moist and allow for plenty of light or dark meat for everyone to enjoy.
If you have to defrost the turkey…
Put it in the refrigerator for 24 hours per every 5 pounds. Example: my 20 pound turkey would need 4 days to thaw in my fridge.
Still following me?
Good Heavens you forgot to take our the turkey to defrost!
It’s still alright. You can give that turkey a nice cool bath in a bucket or sink. Let it soak a half an hour per pound. Example: my 20 pound turkey would have to take a cool bath for 10 hours to defrost.
There are many opinions, versions, traditions people use to make their Easy Tender Turkey.
Some stuff their turkey, I do not.
This is the way we love it and time after time it produces an outstanding turkey stock for the gravy as well as a melt in your mouth Easy Tender Turkey that I’m confident you’ll appreciate too.
Grab a disposable pan, roaster or in my case, I’ve learned that my casserole pan works wonders and is just the right size.
No judging… I did say I was just a little nutty.
I like to use a turkey oven bag.
There is several reasons for this…
1. It keeps me from having to baste my turkey, burning my hand and having to hover around my oven.
2. It creates a bubble of juices that lock into the meat.
3. It makes an incredible condensed turkey stock that will kick the gravy to right out of this world status!
4. When I pop that sucker in the oven, I literally don’t have to think about it for another minute until the timer goes off. It works it’s magic while I get credit for it’s fantastic Easy Tender Turkey!
5. Duh, the clean up is a snap! It’s all about my lazy. I can enjoy a cup of coffee and a game or a glass of wine and some nice conversation instead of scrubbing away while the gangs all visiting.
Place the Turkey Oven Bag into the pan of your choice.
Into the oven bag add 2 Tablespoons of Flour and mix it around inside the bag.
Make sure the whole bag got a little dusting of flour.
It’s just fine that there is a small pile of flour in the bottom of the bag. No worries.
Now let’s clean our turkey.
I like to open my turkey in a clean sink to make clean up a snap.
Both ends of this turkey contain a special surprise for you.
What wonderful prizes await you?
Well, one end you have the neck.
Great for soups, should you be so inclined.
The other end contains a bag of organs.
I asked Luc if he wanted to get the bag out for me at Thanksgiving. He replied in his snarky 9 year old tone, “There is NO way you can get me to put my hand in the bird’s anus and pull out a nasty bag of pieces. You say MY video games are bad. Think about what you are doing to the younger generation. Really Mom.”
Use these things if you wish or discard them if you would rather.
Rinse the turkey inside and out.
Now here is where we are going to take a turn for the yummy and strange.
Take roughly a half a stick to a whole stick of butter cut into smaller bits.
Lift the skin of the turkey.
Between the breast and the skin is a very thin membrane. Poke through it with your fingers. You can now squeeze your hand in between the skin and the breast. Weird. I totally get it but trust the wicked process.
Now slide 3/4 of that cut up butter into that space between the breast and the skin with your fingers.
Try to move it around on the outside too so that you have a nice spread.
Toss the rest of that butter into both of the cavities of the turkey.
Cut up one medium to large onion.
Place that onion into both of the cavities of the bird as well.
Usually I will include 4-6 stalks of celery cut into large chunks into both of the cavities of the bird.
Today I went for the celery to find that my people had beat me to it and had made a snack of it yesterday.
Can’t be sad about the choice of a healthy snack.
If I happen to have a bag of baby carrots or large loose carrots I can cut into chunks, I’d toss them into the bird with the onions and celery too.
The theory behind this is just adding an extra layer of flavor to the turkey stock or broth you’ll be making in the bottom of the bag.
That flavor will be what makes your gravy it’s very own food group and your soups fantastic!
Now we need to oil the outside of our turkey.
I pour a little in my hand an massage it in so that there isn’t any extra oil.
Sprinkle with black pepper and garlic salt.
Feel free to add other spices inside or outside.
I like the less is more approach with turkey and it does turn out wonderful.
Now put the turkey into the floured bag… Breast Side Down.
That’s right, put that beautiful white meat with all the butter at the bottom of the pan.
Pull some of the air out of the bag and twist to close.
The Turkey Oven Bags should come with a tie that will remind you of a zip tie or taking out the trash.
Slide that on and put your turkey into the oven that has been pre-hated to 325 degrees.
The bag will puff up as it cooks so you will want to make sure that you have the rack set to allow that beautiful bird in the bag to cook away without adhering to the roof of the oven.
Catching my drift.
Now set the timer or mark the time that you will need to come back and take out the Easy Tender Turkey.
My 20 pound Easy Tender Turkey is done in 4 hours.
This turkey has it’s own pop up timer but if yours does not, make sure to cook it until the temperature in the thigh is 165 degrees.
Remove that Easy Tender Turkey from the oven and allow it to sit for 20-25 minutes before you mess with it’s perfection.
Totally left alone.
Leave it alone.
When 20 minutes has past, BEFORE you open the bag, flip the bird over so it’s now breast side up.
Trust me… it will be far easier to flip the bird before you open the bag.
Open the bag.
The turkey should be almost falling off the bone.
The stock (broth at the bottom of the bag) will be a rich explosion of flavor!
I use a ladle to remove the amount of stock I desire to make my gravy.
Then I ladle into another bowl to cool, the rest of the stock.
I will then use the remaining stock to freeze for another day, as a base for a turkey soup to make from the leftovers, to use in the place of water in my stuffings, to sooth an ill tummy, to toss together a casserole… the possibilities are endless.
From one turkey I usually have at least 6 cups of hearty stock remaining that I am able to use another day.
Look out! Saving Money! Making things taste unbelievable!
Now go ahead and carve the turkey.
The white meat will be just as moist and tender as the dark meat usually is.
I put it right on a plate as My Handsome Prince carves it to serve. ( It’s a team effort around here)
I learned over the years that when I achieve a beautiful roasted turkey that I’d be proud to display, my leftovers end up dry and blah.
I long since decided that I’d rather it taste remarkable every time I took a bite, leftover or not than have the perfect carving at the table experience.
The Handsome Prince was skeptical when he caught news that I was putting our turkey in a bag upside down one year.
A few bites later and he was totally converted!
Once upon a time I was strapped to my kitchen. Fretting. Hovering. Frankly freaking out that I would blow it. They would vote me off the island. I’d be black balled from hosting again.
We would have a Griswold moment and cut into the turkey only to have it explode or worse!
Now the turkey cooks it’s self.
I get to visit. I have time to do puzzles with the kids. We prepare other dishes.
There no longer is a big rush. It all comes out just right when you find some excellent fool proof recipes that you are confident in, preparing as much as you can before so you’re not racing to chop when you need to stir at the last second and realizing that cooking with a whole lotta love is part of the magic of the holidays.
I am most fond of the memories that we have made with the smell of Easy Tender Turkey floating through the air.
It doesn’t have to be hard, time consuming or terribly expensive to make a meal that will produce compliments from even the most fickle of family and friends.
Thanks to Mrs. F for having bravely taught 3 of our kids now.
She is an exceptional teacher that has really helped our kids to grow, become prepared for a successful middle school career and be excited about their education.
May your holidays be wonderful and the Easy Tender Turkey be plentiful!
Don’t forget the cranberries, gravy and mashed potatoes!
I’m going to go make an Easy Tender Turkey Sandwich!
With gravy kisses and tons of cranberry,
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