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Learning how to roast a turkey is best done while helping your grandma in the kitchen on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. But if you don’t have the ability to hang out at grandma’s house for a few days before the feast, you might miss the nuances that made grandma’s turkey, stuffing, and gravy taste like the holidays you remember

Roast Turkey that Makes Memories

  • Author: Joybilee Farm
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Method: bake


Turkey dinner can  be the highlight of your family gathering. Plan for 1 to 1½ pounds of bird per person for turkeys that are under 16 pounds.  1 ½ pounds per person will give you plenty of leftovers for turkey stock, turkey soup, shepherd’s pie, and hot turkey sandwiches


  • 115 pound turkey
  • Stuffing
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca Starch or Flour (for gravy)
  • 4 cups Water


Thaw the turkey safely by refrigerating at 40 degrees F for 3 days.

  • Take the turkey out of the fridge in the morning.  Remove the giblet bag and neck from the inside of the turkey cavity.  Save the giblets and neck in the fridge for making stock later. Rinse the turkey in the sink under cold, running water.  Then take a teaspoon of herbed salt and wipe the inside of the turkey cavity and under the neck skin with salt.  Spread the salt thinly.
  • Firmly stuff the turkey with the prepared stuffing.  Truss up the legs over the cavity to keep the stuffing inside the bird.  Some people sew the legs together with twine.  Others just tie them at the top of the drumsticks or tuck the drumsticks under the neck skin to hold the legs together
  • Place the turkey, breast side up, on top of the roasting rack, inside the roasting pan. Pour water into the roasting pan so that it comes up to the top of the rack. Cover the roasting pan with a lid. Place in the oven.
  • Start checking the turkey for doneness about an hour before it is supposed to be done.  Use an instant-read thermometer to gauge the doneness of the turkey.  Insert the thermometer into the deepest part of the muscles without touching a bone.  Check the temperature in the breast and in the thigh.  When the turkey is done the breast will be 170 degrees and the thigh will be 180 degrees.
  • When the turkey is done, take it out of the oven and remove it from the roasting pan, onto the carving platter or carving board, and let it rest.

Make Gravy: While the turkey is resting, make the gravy. Allow 1/3 to ½ cup of gravy per person for the meal.

  • Place the flour or starch called for in your gravy recipe into one cup of cold water. (Use tapioca starch or potato starch if you have a guest who has gluten allergies.) Beat the water and starch with a fork until there are no lumps.
  • Pour the water-starch slurry into the bottom of the roaster with the meat drippings. Add the remaining amount of water called for in the gravy recipe, while beating the mixture with a whisk.
  • Turn on the burner and cook the gravy over medium heat, while whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Stop whisking when the gravy thickens and begins to bubble.
  • Transfer the gravy to a gravy boat or other container with a pour spout.

Keywords: turkey

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