Grandma Brooks' Turkey
  • Cooking Time: See online calculator here
  • Servings: 12, 1 pound per adult
  • Preparation Time: 1 - 3 Days thawing, 30 minutes prep
  • 2 larger clean paper bags (can find at a grocery store)
  • 12 pound turkey (Can use larger or smaller, just adjust cook and thaw time) fresh or frozen
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Test roasting pan size by placing unopened turkey in it. Thaw frozen turkey 1 - 3 days in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, on a good sized working surface place the roasting pan on a cookie sheet, a small cooling rack in the pan and one paper bag on its side on top of the rack.
  2. Place thawed turkey in the sink to prepare. Loosen legs to remove neck and giblets from cavities. You can save those for gravy or soup flavoring. Put the leg ends back into plastic holder that came with the turkey. Otherwise, you can skip this step.
  3. Rinse, drain and pat turkey thoroughly dry. The butter or oil needs a dry surface to stick.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Using very clean hands, coat turkey with butter or olive oil. Be generous, as you may want to use the drippings for gravy later. Wipe off messy hands. Sprinkle turkey with a mixture of poultry seasoning and salt.
  6. Carefully place turkey, breast side up in the bag. Cut a small slit in bag above the breast (for meat thermometer). Slide the first bag, opening first, completely into the second bag, sealing in the turkey. Cut a slit in the second bag above the first slit.
  7. Put turkey, legs first, into heated oven. Without peeking, cook until within 30 minutes of completed time (see online calculator above).
  8. The easiest way to check for turkey "doneness" is to buy one with a timer that pops out when the turkey is finished. But if your turkey does not have an indicator, poke a thermometer through the slits and about 1 inch into the thickest part of the breast to test. Meat measuring above 165 degrees is done. If turkey's temperature measures below 165 degrees, return to the oven for 30 minutes and then retest. Repeat if needed.
  9. A third way to test if turkey is cooked is by cutting open the bag and looking in-between the leg and the upper body. Meat should be white, not pink. When meat is cooked, cut open the bag at the breast. Put back in the oven 20 minutes to brown the breast.
  10. Cut open bag completely and move turkey to a serving platter or work surface for carving. Let it sit 15 minutes before carving. During this time, you can remove the juices from the bag and pan to make gravy. See Turkey Giblet Gravy recipe.
  11. Slice and serve turkey immediately. Store leftovers promptly after the meal. You will notice there is very little cleanup, especially if you use a disposable pan.
Turkey seems to be a rite of passage. This is how my mom made turkey for years. Because side dishes are involved as well as turkey, a well-timed cooking plan comes in quite handy. My advice: read all directions days before, make ahead what you can, give yourself 1-2 hours extra time, and let a close friend or family member assist. For further encouragement watch the video. You've got this!