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Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

Deep-fried or roasted, these recipes will produce a tasty turkey for your Thanksgiving table.

Southern Deep-Fried Turkey

  • 1 (10-12 pound) turkey, non-self-basting
  • 2/3 cups prepared vinaigrette dressing
  • 1/3 cup sherry
  • 2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • peanut oil as needed

Thaw turkey completely. Clean out cavity, discarding giblets and neck. Cut off wing tips and tail. Rinse under cold running water and pat dry.

In a medium bowl, combine vinaigrette, sherry and seasonings. Strain the marinade, then place in an injection syringe. Inject the marinade in the turkey breast, thighs and legs. Place turkey in a food-safe, plastic bag and refrigerate for 2 hours. Turn the bag over and massage the turkey to work the marinade into the meat. Remove form bag, drain and pat dry.

Place fryer/cooker outside, placed on level ground and in an open space away from the house. Never use a turkey fryer indoors, in a garage or under a covered patio due to potential fire hazard. Add oil to a 7 to 10 gallon pot with a basket or rack. At the medium-high setting, heat the oil to 375˚F, (depending on the amount of oil, outside temperature and wind conditions, this should take about 40 minutes).

When the oil temperature reaches 375˚ on a deep-fry thermometer, slowly lower turkey into the hot oil. The level of the oil will rise due to frothing caused by the moisture in the turkey but will stabilize within about a minute. Maintain frying temperature at 350˚F. Allow 3-4 minutes per pound or according to your cooker’s recommended cook times. When the internal temperature of the breast reaches 170˚F remove turkey from hot oil and allow turkey to drain for a few minutes. Remove turkey form the rack and place on a serving platter. Allow to rest 20 minutes before carving.

Note: Use only the oils with high smoke points such as peanut or safflower oils.  Makes 12 servings.

Roasted Turkey with Cranberry Fruit Dressing

  • 14-16 pound whole turkey, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 16-ounce can jelled cranberry sauce
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar

Remove giblets, neck and any visible fat from turkey, and reserve for stock. Rinse turkey with cold running water and drain well. Pat dry with paper towels, and season inside and outside with salt and pepper. Tie drumsticks together and twist wing tips behind back. Place turkey breast side up on a wire rack that’s been sprayed with cooking oil in a shallow roasting pan. Cover loosely with foil. Roast turkey in a 325˚F oven about 2 hours and 30 minutes, basting with pan juices.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat and cook onions with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until onions are soft. (If onions begin to brown, lower heat.) Stir in cranberry sauce and sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Remove foil and pour glaze over bird. Continue to roast bird 30 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes hours more or until thermometer reaches 180˚F in the thigh and 170˚F in the breast. Remove turkey from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Dressing:

  • 3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix
  • 2 cups mixed dried fruit, chopped (dates, apricots, apples etc)
  • 1 cup  celery, chopped
  • 2/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • cooking oil spray

In a medium bowl, combine the stuffing mix, dried fruit, celery, onion, cranberry sauce, sage, thyme and broth. Coat a 2–quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon dressing in prepared dish and bake uncovered at 325˚F for 40–45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165˚F. 

When turkey is ready to serve, garnish turkey platter with grapes, apples and celery leaves. Makes 15 servings.

 

John Kenrick’s Cider-Brined Turkey

For the brine:

  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 8 star anise cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 6 1/4-thick slices unpeeled ginger root
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (about 2-3 inches long)
  • For the turkey:
  • One 12-14 pound turkey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • melted butter
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 cups water

Combine apple cider, salt and the remaining brine ingredients together in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Let cool to room temperature. Add in 1 1/2 gallons (6 quarts) water. Add turkey and press turkey down in brine to cover. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Remove from the brine and pat turkey dry with paper towels. Season turkey with salt and pepper. Place breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Let stand at room temperature for an hour. Brush turkey with melted butter. Turn turkey to roast breast side down, pour cider and water in bottom of roasting pan for an hour in a 375 degree oven. Turn breast side up and baste with pan juices. Continue to roast until the thigh reaches internal temperature of 180˚F. Serves 12-14.

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