Cooking a Turkey with Sam the Cooking Guy - San Diego, California Talk Radio Station - 760 KFMB AM - 760kfmb

Cooking a Turkey with Sam the Cooking Guy

Fresh or Frozen?

Plan ahead if you're cooking a frozen turkey. The safest way to thaw a bird is in the fridge; count on 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.  So a 20 pound turkey will take four days. 


Brining adds flavor and moisture to any poultry – I never miss this step.  Just be sure to add the 24 hours (or an hour a pound if you don't have a day) to your planning

2 gallons apple juice

1 gallon water

2 tablespoons each dried sage & rosemary

5 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 cups Kosher salt

1.5 cups brown sugar

2 yellow onions, peeled & cut in quarters

  • Combine all ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes partly covered
  • Allow brine to cool completely
  • Put rinsed turkey (without the bag of giblets etc) into a brining bag or non-reactive pot and add the cooled brine
  • Seal bag or cover pot and refrigerate up to 24 hours or an hour a pound if that's all you have
  • Remove turkey from brine (throw away brine), rinse turkey and pat dry and cook as normal


To Stuff or Not to Stuff

Turkeys cook more evenly if they're not stuffed. A handful of aromatics (lemons, onions, thyme and garlic) or fresh herbs inside the bird adds lots of flavor.


Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.  A tied bird cooks more evenly


Brush the outside of the turkey with melted butter or oil and sprinkle well with salt and pepper.


Preheat oven to 350.  Use a v-rack to sit turkey on in roasting pan, or scatter roughly chopped chunks of onions, carrots, celery and garlic on the bottom of the pan before setting the turkey on top.  As the veggies cook, they'll add a ton of flavor to the drippings. Cook 15 minutes per pound, at 350 degrees and baste about every 45 minutes.  Watch the browning – and if it gets too dark, cover the affected areas with foil. 

Should be 165 degrees in the breast when done.  Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for up to 30 minutes before carving.


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