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Old 11-15-2010, 07:55 PM
Location: San Antonio/Houston/Tricity
43,562 posts, read 62,330,140 times
Reputation: 101573


This recipe works best with a large 20 – 22 Lbs bird. You will also need an instant read thermometer so that you can be totally convinced that the turkey is fully cooked.
I start one hour before you are going to bed – so that by the time you are going to hit the hay, the kitchen is cleaned and the turkey is cooking all by itself. When you awake, you will have a fully cooked turkey and empty oven.

Since this turkey is going to be cooked slowly at a fairly low temperature, do not stuff the turkey cavity. Cook your stuffing separately.

Preheat your oven to 400°

You Will Need:
A Big Turkey
Garlic Powder
Two Heads of Garlic
Yellow Onions
Poultry Spice – Or Any Fresh Herbs Your Prefer
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
An Instant Read Thermometer

1. Thoroughly wash your turkey inside and out. Pat dry.

2. Place in a Large Roasting pan – on a rack.

3. Season with Salt, Pepper, Poultry Spice (I use Bell's), Paprika and Garlic Powder. Remember to season inside as well as outside.

4. Clean and peel two heads of garlic and place garlic, celery, parsnips, onions and water under the rack, (add enough water to come to the top of the rack – and not to touch the turkey itself). Add the turkey neck, liver and gizzard to the water in the pan.

5. Place the turkey in the oven (at 400°) and roast for 30 minutes.

6. After 30 minutes baste the turkey – and lower oven to 250°. COVER THE PAN COMPLETELY BY MAKING A TENT OUT OF HEAVY DUTY ALUMINUM FOIL. You must make sure that all the edges of the pan are covered so that the moisture will remain in the pan. This is the only tricky part to cooking a turkey like this. You should check the water before sealing the pan. There only needs to be a few inches.

7. Now go to sleep – and you will dream of turkey. (I think it has to do with the smell of the turkey cooking.)

8. If you are of an age that you get up during the night to go to the bathroom – you can check the turkey – but it should be fine. Seven hours later – the turkey should be fully cooked. You can check by inserting an instant read thermometer in the breast it should read 155°.

9. You can unwrap the turkey, baste and raise the temperature to brown the breast. (Please do not consume undercooked poultry.)

Leave the turkey in the pan to cool – and go right back to sleep.Later on you only have to cook your side dishes. Your turkey will be so well cooked that it falls off the bone – yet because of how it was cooked it is moist and delicious.

Strain the drippings and refrigerate them. Remove the fat layer and use the drippings as a base for your gravy.

The gravy recipe

Turkey Gravy…..


Stick of Sweet Butter
¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
4 - Cups Turkey Drippings or Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper

Take the turkey drippings from your overnight turkey and refrigerate them – this makes separating the fat easy and any crunchy bits from the pan will settle to the bottom – so that you do not have to strain the gravy. Remove the fat layer and use the clear drippings only.

If you do not have enough drippings you can ad some chicken stock

In a heavy sauce pan …

Soften the butter and add the flour ( this is called a roux)
Continue to cook and stir until all the flour is incorporated
and the mixture begins to turn a golden color.
You can use a whisk or a wooden spoon.

This should only take few minutes – and you really have to keep stirring –
This will cook off the starchiness of the flour and add color to your gravy.


Slow add the drippings (approx 3 Cups – leave some in case you need to thin the gravy) and keep stirring.
If there are lumps just keep stirring with a whisk- the gravy will thicken as it cooks. Remember that all the flavors you used to season the turkey will be evident in the gravy. You do not want gravy that is too thick – you can use the remaining drippings to thin as necessary.

Salt & Pepper to taste.

Bon appetite!

Recipes Blog: Andrea
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:04 AM
4,723 posts, read 14,330,184 times
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"How NOT to Cook a Turkey".

You will note, your method (and my grandmas) is listed as a NOT.
I have been reading for years its too risky to cook it at that low a temp.

Thinking of my past, some relatives did get sick the day after, but they always blamed it on Grandpas cheap wine.

How NOT to Cook a Turkey - Unsafe Turkey Cooking Practices - Don't Slow Cook, Slow Roast, Microwave a Turkey
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:20 AM
Location: Charlotte county, Florida
4,196 posts, read 5,566,259 times
Reputation: 12230
I wouldnt cook a turkey like this myself and i'd be sure my instant read thermometer read at least 165 allowing for a 10 degree carry over cooking temp after it was covered with foil out of the oven.
I wouldnt feel comfortable going to bed with my oven on most likely it would keep me awake.
Dont ask me what I'd do if I had a wood burning stove to heat my home in the winter.
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:38 AM
3,646 posts, read 10,030,235 times
Reputation: 5461
Sounds to me like - "How to cook a dried out turkey"

It takes 5 hours to cook a turkey that size at 350, if even. Every year, I stick my digital thermometer in the turkey and put it in the oven and the last couple of years, it's been done waaaay too early!

There are lots of ways to save time and effort on Thanksgiving. I make and/or prep almost everything in the days before so that my time in the kitchen is minimal. Since the turkey needs to "rest" for 20-30 min before serving, that's the time I use to reheat everything else.

I use a crockpot for my sweet potatoes and when I have a LOT of guests, I premake gravy the day before using homemade turkey broth made from roasted turkey necks and keep it warm in another, smaller crockpot. Cranberry sauce is made the day before, while I'm also baking the three varieties of pies I always make (and found AWESOME storage for at BB&B), cutting up all the vegetables for the stuffing (I then put them in a Ziploc bag), making the cornbread for the stuffing, assembling the green bean casserole. The herb butter is made a couple weeks ahead of time and frozen (project for tomorrow, as a matter of fact) I usually spend Thanksgiving Day playing board games.

After a couple years, I decided to write down everything I do and put it together. From the menu planning, to comments on what worked and what didn't. How many eggs I used, the whole shopping list. I keep it in a 3 ring binder that I update every year with any new information. When the amount of people change (for dinner or dessert) I comment on how much more I had to make and how much of what was leftover. There have been years where the leftovers didn't last through lunch the following day. So, now when I know a certain number are coming, or certain people, I buy a second turkey and put it in the brine as I pull out the first one. Then the following morning, I put it in the oven and by lunch, fresh turkey!
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:57 AM
Location: the west side of "paradise"
3,612 posts, read 7,397,270 times
Reputation: 4431
To each his own, I say.
Thank you for your post & ideas, Elnine.

I, however wouldn't do this.
1.) I too wouldn't/don't leave the oven on overnight.
2.) I would get alittle heebie-jibbie with low-temp cooking. Even though you have stated you've done this and must be healthy & still kicking.

3.) No stuffing in the bird. NO STUFFING IN THE BIRD!!??? Are you kidding me? My family would slaughter me like the bird! I make stuffing on the side too, but is never as tasty as from the bird, and we all fight over "bird stuffing".

4.) We look at "waiting for the bird", as an opportunity. We drink, smooze, eat nibbles (appetizers), fight over the liver I cook in alittle butter, S & P, and generally relax.
It's a day experience. Not just a meal to be done & over. It's tradition.

But to those who don't have the luxury of that, your idea is good.

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Old 11-16-2010, 05:39 PM
Location: LI/VA/IL
2,480 posts, read 4,830,077 times
Reputation: 6658
My problem is -you wake up at 6:00am-but your not serving till later-2,3 or 5 or 6 pm. Now you have to refrigerate the turkey then reheat it??

I don't know if I 'm the only one-I hate reheated poultry-it's too fowly (sp?) tasting
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Old 11-17-2010, 06:36 AM
5,065 posts, read 14,400,689 times
Reputation: 3538
Yeah, I see all sorts of problems with this method, although we don't stuff our turkey. We don't eat until around 5 p.m., so cooking the turkey during the day is no hardship, and we like it fresh from the oven. I just want to ask though, what is "sweet butter" that is mentioned for the gravy? Thanks for the recipe, though.
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Old 11-17-2010, 06:54 AM
3,646 posts, read 10,030,235 times
Reputation: 5461
"Sweet butter" generally refers to unsalted butter
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:13 AM
Location: Edmond, OK
4,035 posts, read 9,653,862 times
Reputation: 4202
I've never tried this method, but both my grandmothers always did it like this. When the bird was done, they would just cover the bird tightly with foil and a couple of cup towel and place them in on the back of the stove to stay warm. No one ever got sick and the turkeys were always delicious. But, neither of them ever stuffed the birds. Stuffing in my family and my husbands is always done separately. I can't actually ever remember eating a turkey anywhere that was actually stuffed. I've seen it in pictures my whole life (and I'm over 50), but I've never seen it actually done.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:39 AM
Location: Charlotte county, Florida
4,196 posts, read 5,566,259 times
Reputation: 12230
Whats the difference between Stuffing and dressing??

Acording to Food network stuffing is from inside the bird..
If it's cooked seperately it's called dressing.. I just heard this last night.
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