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Sunday Food: Turkey Dinner

Turkey for dinner

(Picture courtesy of cobalt123 at

During the conversation yesterday at Pull Up A Chair, one of our FDL number asked a question that really needs an answer; how DO you cook the turkey?

First let me say that the first turkey I cooked, in my inexperience I never realized you have a bag of giblets in the turkey’s carcass.   Do remove the giblets before cooking.

You should have a turkey by today if you’re using a frozen one, and put it into the refrigerator for thawing, because they take a few days to thaw completely.

For the dressing, I like whole wheat and grain rich breads, and you can buy those loaves now to begin drying out.   Of course, you could buy bags of pre-prepared stuffing, but you’ll save a lot if you get bread from the day-old shelves or discount store for breads.   Put the bread into a large container, cover with paper towels or any piece of cloth, in the refrigerator, about two days in advance.

The aluminum foil pans at the store now on sale for a dollar are perfectly good, but when you fix up your turkey, put that onto a firm cookie sheet to avoid its buckling under the weight of the cooked bird.  Take all but the bottom rack out of the oven before turning it on, so you’ll have room for everything.

Cooking is going to take awhile, check the weight of your bird and see the chart below.  Stuff the bird before putting in the pan, see recipe below for standard celery stuffing.

You should rinse the bird inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.

If you are stuffing the bird, stuff it loosely, allowing about ½ to ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey.

Brush the skin with melted butter or oil. Tie drumsticks together with string (for stuffed birds only).

Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body, and should not touch the bone.

Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven.

 Weight  of Bird

 Roasting Time (Unstuffed)

 Roasting Time


10 to 18 pounds

3 to 3-1/2 hours

  3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds

3-1/2 to 4 hours

  4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds

4 to 4-1/2 hours

  5 to 5-1/2 hours
  24 to 29 pounds

4-1/2 to 5 hours

5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours


Cook the turkey until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but will promote even browning.

The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

  • The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F.  The dressing should be 165 F.

The dressing of course should be put into the turkey before the roasting.

  • 1 (1 pound) loaf sliced white bread
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • cut into cubes.
    1. In a Dutch oven, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until soft. Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bread cubes until evenly coated. Moisten with chicken broth; mix well.
    2. Chill, and use as a stuffing for turkey, or bake in a buttered casserole dish at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes.
    3. Enjoy your dinner.
    4. As you can see, the style of this post has been messed up because I’ve used  a cut a paste that had pre-arranged numbering in it.
    5.  This is one good reason to detest word processing, and for that reason I much prefer Wordperfect to any other program.
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Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.