Main & Side Dishes - Thanksgiving Dinner

Turkey (Oven Baked)

The main dish at Thanksgiving. We all have developed our favorite method of cooking a turkey so I have included a few here. Mom used the straightforward, no-stuffing, bake-it-in-the-oven approach. My daughter Vanessa created a variation on the theme by adding rosemary and garlic. I perfected the smoked turkey, even if I do say so myself.

Mom’s No-nonsense Turkey

1 turkey, big enough to feed the crowd

Melted butter or vegetable oil

Salt and Pepper


Buy a good quality turkey. Follow instructions for thawing the turkey - this might take about three days if it is frozen. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity, Thoroughly wash the turkey with water and pull out any remaining feather stubs in the skin. Pat skin dry with a paper towel. Coat the turkey inside and out with butter or oil. Coat the turkey inside and out with salt (seasoned salt can be used if you like). Sprinkle the outside with ground pepper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. You can cook the turkey breast-up if you use a tent of aluminum foil to cover the breast or you can cook the turkey breast down. Both methods help to keep the breast from drying out and both will keep the breast from turning very brown. Put the turkey on a rack over a sturdy roasting pan in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for 2 hours. Reduce heat again to 250 degrees and cook until done (1-2 hours). If you want the breast to brown, you can remove the aluminum tent or turn the turkey breast-up for the last 15-20 minutes at 300 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes before carving.


Vanessa’s Rosemary Turkey

Follow directions for Mom’s turkey but in addition to the salt and pepper, rub rosemary and garlic on the outside of the turkey and place a few sprigs of rosemary and a few garlic cloves inside the turkey cavity before cooking.

Copyright ©  Mike Perry, 2011