Thanksgiving turkey recipe and why we eat the big bird

How did the turkey become the main mascot of modern-day Thanksgiving.

To roast the turkey:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cover the turkey loosely with extra-heavy aluminum foil, leaving space between the bird and the foil. Lightly tuck the foil around the front, back, and sides of the bird. Do not add water to the pan. Roast the turkey until the meat thermometer reaches 180 degrees F. and the juices run clear.

The roasting time may vary up to 30 minutes, depending upon the bird and the oven. Use the meat thermometer to check the temperature of the dressing. The center of the dressing inside the bird (or in a separate baking dish) must reach a temperature of 165 degrees F. for food safety.
To roast unstuffed turkey:

Follow the instructions above, omitting the dressing (stuffing). Roast the turkey until the meat thermometer reaches 180 degrees F

Remove the aluminum foil about 30 minutes before the turkey is done to complete the browning of the bird.

When done, remove the turkey from the oven and place it on a serving platter or carving board; cover loosely with aluminum foil and let it stand 10 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, make the Turkey Gravy. Remove all the dressing from the neck and body cavities before carving the turkey. Pour the gravy into a gravy boat and pass at the table.


Giblet gravy is a classic accompaniment to the traditional turkey meal for Thanksgiving or any special occasion. Don't toss those giblets in the trash! They add a lot of flavor to this easy gravy.


Poultry giblets (gizzard, heart, neck)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups water


Prepare giblets and neck:

In 3-quart saucepan, combine gizzard, heart, neck, and enough water to cover; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add liver and cook 15 minutes longer. Strain giblet broth through sieve into large bowl. Pull meat from neck; discard bones. Coarsely chop neck meat and giblets. Cover and refrigerate meat and broth separately.

To make gravy, remove rack from roasting pan. Strain pan drippings through sieve into 4-cup measuring cup or medium bowl. Add 1 cup giblet broth to hot roasting pan and heat to boiling, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of pan; add to drippings in measuring cup. Let stand 1 minute, or until fat separates from meat juice. Spoon 2 tablespoons fat from drippings into 2-quart saucepan; skim and discard any remaining fat. Add remaining giblet broth and enough water to meat juice in cup to equal 3-1/2 cups.

Heat fat in saucepan over medium heat; stir in 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until flour turns golden brown with a wire whisk, gradually whisk in meat-juice mixture and cook, whisking, until gravy has thickened slightly and boils; boil 1 minute. Stir in reserved giblets and neck meat; heat through. Pour gravy into gravy boat.
Yield: about 3-1/2 cups

AND FINALLY… A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked the stock boy, 'Do these turkeys get any bigger?'

The stock boy answered, 'No ma'am, they're dead.'

* Originally published in 2011.