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Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving menu: substitute for oven-roasting bags

Many folks like to use those special oven-roasting bags for their Thanksgiving turkeys. They do speed up the cooking process (which will save not just time, but electricity, as well). And they leave you with a succulent roasted bird. But I have a substitute for those bags that I use, that I usually have on hand and is quite a bit cheaper. Aluminum foil.

From the Reynolds Kitchens, "the taste of tender, juicy turkey, quick roasted in your oven. Loosely wrap your turkey, sprinkled with seasoned salt and pepper (or other favorite seasonings), in heavy duty aluminum foil." (For more details, go to, and in the search bar, enter the search terms "foil wrapped roasted turkey". Their links have changed since this post was published, but you can find the technique for wrapping and roasting through a search in their site. )

Bake the turkey at a high temperature (450 degrees), until the final temp of the breast meat is 170 degrees F or thigh meat is 180 degrees F.  Your turkey should roast in 2  1/2 to 3  1/2 hours.

In the last 30 minutes, it is recommended you carefully open the foil and fold back. This allows the turkey to brown.

And what about frequent basting? According to Norbest, frequent basting is unnecessary in modern birds, as most have been pre-basted. Frequent basting will only prolong the roasting time, as the oven will cool every time it is opened. However, I find putting a glaze over the top of the turkey before roasting gives the finished surface a lovely color and delicious flavor. And the gravy tastes gourmet, truly not your usual turkey gravy. I use a modified version of a Southern Living turkey glaze. My version uses some orange zest, orange juice, jelly (either crabapple or red currant), sage, butter, salt and pepper. (The Southern Living version calls for orange marmalade, sage, butter, salt and pepper).


Live and Learn said...

The gravy sounds really good. However, I'm not sure my extended family would like it. They want traditional gravy because that's what their mother always made. If nothing else, Thanksgiving is about traditions.

Pamela said...

I read somewhere that brining a turkey will make it very moist and tender, though you won't be able to stuff it. I've never done that, though.

I usually tent it with aluminum foil while I cook it, and stuff the cavity with fruit (often a quartered apple or an orange) and/or an onion, and herbs (often thyme and sage and rosemary). It makes for a moist, flavorful bird.

I do like basting the bird. It is a way for me to use up some nervous energy.

Kris said...

Sarah from has instructions on her blog for dry brining a turkey, which sounded interesting to me.

TB at BlueCollarWorkman said...

Does anyone else like to deep fry their turkey? I've got a turkey deep fryer and every year I set it up in the backyard and deep fry our bird. I always spill and make a grease mess, but it doesnt' really matter because it's in the backyard anyway. And man does it make for a delcious turkey!

Anonymous said...

We always used foil to cook our turkeys the idea of the bags, while it might be easier to clean up from isn't worth the price or the idea of cooking in plastic, yuck

Lili said...

Hi live and learn,
Totally get it. The "must haves" at our place are green bean casserole and sweet potato souffle. I'm lucky, though, that my family lets me fiddle with recipes and try out new stuff.

Lili said...

Hi Pamela,
I've heard that too, about brining. I like the idea of stuffing the turkey with an apple or orange, to add flavor and moisture. I may try that, as I don't stuff with bread stuffing, but do that in a pan.

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
good to know. I'll check out her instructions for dry brining.

Lili said...

Hi TB,
Check out live and learn's blog post, dated Nov.19. She talks about their experience deep frying the turkey. It does sound tasty!

Lili said...

Hi Lois,
that is kind of yucky to think of cooking in plastic. I'd never thought of that aspect before!

Anonymous said...

We use foil, too. I stuff our turkey with celery, carrots and onion and whatever herbs I want to add, but I don't baste. I toss the veggies after the turkey is done and make "stuffing" as a side.

Lili said...

Hi Shara,
Another vote for foil! I've never stuffed the bird with the veggies. I have placed the veggies under the bird, inside the packet of aluminum foil, to add to the juices. I'm going to add apples and sage inside my turkey this year. I have a surplus of both from the garden.

I grew up with stuffing inside the turkey, but I've never liked the texture done that way. I much prefer dressing on the side.

Anonymous said...

I'm just the opposite I LOVE the stuffing cooked in the bird and on the side is just OK.

Sharon said...

I've cooked turkeys different ways but my favorite was the method I used last year from Martha Stewart:

It uses butter & white wine soaked cheesecloth during the roasting. The turkey came out so yummy! This year I am cooking a much smaller turkey & I hope I don't dry it out!

Lili said...

Hi frugal spinster,
You have lots of company in that area! A lot of my friends and family prefer it in the bird.

Lili said...

Hi Sharon,
oooh, that does sound delicious!
Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!

Unknown said...

Getting alot of flack about stuffing a turkey with stuffing before roasting..they say people are getting sick from has done it that way for years of my life and never once got ill from it...

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