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Grandma Beeskau's Baked Turkey

Photo by wikimedia user TheKohser

Turkey isn't just for the holidays, it's great any time of year. While our Thanksgiving turkey has been deep fried for years (once you try it, you'll never go back), there's always a place for a good baked turkey, particularly if you want to make gravy. This recipe from my grandmother comes out perfect every time, and is what I make when it's my turn to make Thanksgiving dinner.

Preparation

Thaw the turkey 2-3 days in the refrigerator, if frozen.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove neck and giblet bag from turkey cavities (save for gravy.) Wash turkey and pat dry. Rub vegetable oil over the outside of the turkey. Salt and pepper both inside and outside of turkey (plus any optional seasonings, such as Cajun seasoning.) Rub optional butter mixture under skin (pull away from body to get the butter all over the underside.)

Place onion, celery, and carrots into the cavity. Lightly sprinkle outside with flour.

Make a heavy foil tent over the turkey. Bake at 325 degrees for 3-4 hours. Remove foil tent and continue baking 1 1/2 hours to brown, basting occasionally during this last hour and a half.

Remove turkey from oven when thigh temperature reaches 170 degrees. Let sit for 30 minutes, covered in foil, before carving. (Save the pan and juices if you plan to make gravy.)

Ingredients

  • 16-18 lb. organic turkey
  • 1 white onion, cut into chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • Vegetable oil
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste (other seasonings optional)
  • Butter with sage, thyme, and rosemary (optional)