How to Cook a Turkey
Recipes > Smart Kitchen Recipe > Dinner > Poultry Dishes > How to Cook a Turkey

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Recipe Checklist:
  • 1, 15 lb Turkey, (Fresh or Defrosted)
  • 2 oz of Whole Butter, (Cubed)
  • 2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Stalk of Fresh Rosemary (Top Half)
  • 8 Oz of Andouille Sausage Stuffing
Tools & Equipment
  • Butcher Knife or Chef’s Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Butchers Twine
  • Large Roasting Pan
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Kitchen Towel
  • Oven Mitt
Estimated Time
2 1/2 Hours to 3 Hours Including Preparation
1 Roasted 15 lb Turkey
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With all due respect, we are now going to give you the “bird,” the Turk, Meleagris gallopavo, the Pièce de la Résistance. Though the original notes on the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving feast don’t specifically cite a Turkey, or two, on the menu, the Turkey, as you well know, has become the centerpiece of our modern holiday meal and figures prominently well into the next week.

Getting the Turkey just right takes some work and a bit of culinary art as you will see in the Smart Kitchen’s Perfect Turkey.

Bringing our oven up to temperature is the first task in bringing our Turkey to the table.

Preheat your oven to 375° F (190.6° C). Use your Butchers Knife or Chef’s Knife and remove the Turkey Legs from the body. The process is very similar to how Chicken Legs are removed from a Whole Chicken in when you are Breaking Down a Chicken.

Once the legs have been removed, De-Bone the Turkey Leg, including the Ligaments which if retained, even after cooking, would make the leg meat a very Tough Chew. When you are finished removing and de-boning the legs, you should have two cylinders of leg meat with a slice along one side to work with.

Next, place the Andouille Sausage Stuffing, previously prepared, into the center of the leg meat through the slit. Roll up the sides of the leg meat to encompass the stuffing.

Use the Butcher’s Twine to Tie Off the meat so that everything stays in place. Smart Kitchen's Stuffing a Turkey Leg Exercise will show you how. 

With the legs ready, we can now return to the Turkey and rub it around the outer portions of the entire bird with the pat of Whole Butter. When the bird is well and truly buttered, carefully lift the skin up an inch or so, and insert the sprigs of fresh Thyme and Rosemary so that they sit against the muscle around the breast meat. If you want some guidance on this technique, our Larding Turkey Exercise can show you how to get up under the skin.

Transfer the Turkey and its legs into a large Roasting Pan. Our Roasting Turkey Exercise can show you all the details but the short version follows. Using your oven-mitts, or your own best judgment, carefully place the 15 pound Turkey into your pre-heated oven. Cook the bird for 2-2 ½ hours or until your Meat Thermometer shows an Internal Temperature of 155°F (68°C) which is our Pull Temperature.

When the internal temperature is achieved, remove the Turkey from the oven and let it Rest for 8-10 minutes so that Carry Over Cooking can Finish Cook the bird and so that the juices have time to redistribute its juices.

Once the Turkey has had a chance to rest, Carve the Turkey and serve.