Thanksgiving Recipes Part II: Cooking a Perfect Turkey {and another GIVEAWAY!}

turkey final small {Don’t forget to enter to win some great products from Calphalon!}

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Turkey! Am I right or am I right?

Well, believe it or not, I’m no turkey expert. This is only the 3rd turkey I’ve roasted all by my lonesome. Shocking, isn’t it! What’s my secret you ask? Butterball.

Ever since I can remember, my Mom has purchased Butterball turkeys. Always and forever more. She swears by them, and now so do I!

Roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving is like the ultimate job. Lots of pressure rides on you. You either give everyone food poisoning or you dry that sucker out. I’m sure we’ve been there, done that. Well, believe it or not there is a happy medium! You can get a juicy, thoroughly cooked bird that will make people sing praises to deity and most likely give thanks. {How ironic!}

So, in order for me to NOT screw up my turkey, I gave the lovely ladies at 1-800-Butterball a ring. Have you ever called this number before? Lots of friendly people are at the other end, eager to help you! And, if you’re shy, they have a live chat! Perfect for the Thanksgiving multi-tasker.

Did you know that all the calls Butterball gets are basically for 2 main things? {You learn a lot talking to the Butterball Specialists!} Here they are:

1. “How do I get my turkey to thaw quickly? I forgot to pull it out of the freezer!” To all the people out there who plan on eating Turkey in a few Thursdays from now, take note: leave enough time for your bird to thaw completely before Thanksgiving! Don’t forget! There are a few ways you can go about doing this: stick your bird in the fridge 4-6 days in advance, depending on how big it is. {Refrigerator thawing will take 24 hours per every 4 pounds of turkey.} After the turkey is thawed, it can stay in the fridge for another 4 days.

The other way you can thaw your turkey is by using the cold water method. Just stick your bird in the sink {still in its packaging} and cover with cold water, breast side down. This thawing method will take 30 minutes per pound. {Click here for video instruction.}

2. “How do I know my turkey is done? How do I not dry out the white meat?” Believe it or not, a thermometer is how you get a perfect bird! There is a small window of time where everything is cooked safely and is still juicy! Why is it so hard to achieve? Well, the white meat always will cook first because it only needs to reach 170 degrees. The dark meat, however, has to get to 175-180 degrees. So what’s a girl to do? 2/3’s of the way through your cooking time, tent the top of the turkey with foil. That will re-direct the heat back into the thigh meat and ensure a juicy bird. And fyi, if you stuff your bird, your stuffing needs to get to 165 degrees.

That’s basically it! Pretty easy tricks, right?

So, I picked up a frozen Butterball turkey the other day and defrosted it using the cold water method. Then once it was nice and thawed, I stuck it into the fridge until I was ready to use it. {Did I ever tell you guys I was a Public Health Major? Yeah, I’m all about growth rates of germs and bacteria. Keep that bird in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it!}
turkey 1 small  Once I was ready to cook, I pulled it out of the fridge, put it back in the {clean} sink and opened it up. Butterball has this easy open packaging that is brilliant! No scissors needed!
turkey 2 small  Once you get it out, place it onto your rack and pat it dry with paper towels and don’t forget to pull out all the yummy giblets and innards. And by yummy I mean gross.
turkey 3 small  Once your turkey is dry, rub it with some oil.
turkey 4 small  Then sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Be sure to put some into the cavity of the bird too! We want flavor central to be all over Mr. Turkey.
turkey 1  Next, I cut up some onions and lemons and shoved them inside. It helps keep things juicy.
turkey 6 small  Then, I pop my little baby into a 325 degree oven and let it go. My turkey was 14 pounds, so it took a little more than 3 hours. Figure out how long to cook your turkey here. {Don’t forget to wash your hands REALLY well and sanitize your sink!} {And, PS- I used this awesome non-stick roasting pan and rack from Calphalon…purdy, isn’t it?}
turkey 5 small  After 2 hours, I tented the top with foil and let it go until I reached that internal temperature of 175 degrees in the thigh, or until the juices run clear. Take your turkey out and let it rest for 15 minutes or so before you cut right into it.
turkey 7 small  Then, slice it how you like it and serve! Oh yum.

I served mine with this delicious stuffing and a few other recipes I’ll be sharing in the next few days!
thanksgiving plate small
[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:3]
turkey final 2 small  Now, the lovely folks at Butterball want you to have one of their wonderful Turkey’s at your Thanksgiving table this year! They are giving 2 lucky Lauren’s Latest readers coupons for free turkeys! Do you want a free {delicious and perfect} turkey or your Thanksgiving feast?

Here’s how to enter:

1. Like Lauren’s Latest on Facebook and Twitter for 2 entries.
2. Like Butterball on Facebook and Twitter for 2 entries.
3. Share this post on Facebook for 1 entry.
4. Share a photo from this post on Pinterest. You know you’re addicted as much as I am! {If you are interested in getting a Pinterest account, email me and I’ll hook you up!}
5. Tweet the link of this post on Twitter.

*Make sure you come back and leave a separate comment for each entry! Make sure to include the link where you shared, tweeted or pinned this as well.

RULES:

Contest opens Wednesday, November 9th 12:00 a.m. PST and closes Tuesday, November 15th 11:59 p.m. PST. Contest only open to U.S. Residents. {Sorry to my International friends! We still love you!}

Prizes are supplied by Butterball. I was supplied the products to review and was NOT paid for this post. All opinions are, of course, my own.

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169 Responses to “Thanksgiving Recipes Part II: Cooking a Perfect Turkey {and another GIVEAWAY!}”

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    1
    Valerie — November 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I already like you on fb! :)

    Reply

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    Christina — November 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Like Lauren’s Latest on FB :)

    Reply

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    Christina — November 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Like Butterball on FB :)

    Reply

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    Christina — November 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Shared the post on FB.

    Reply

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    Christina — November 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Turkey has a Pin under my Mmmmm, food :) . Love Pinterest!

    Reply

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    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — November 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I already like you on Facebook!

    I am making a turkey for a pre-Thanksgiving with my friends on Saturday. For me, it’s all about the brine! I’m getting my Alton Brown on Friday evening :)

    Reply

    • Robin — November 13th, 2011 @ 12:51 am

      Rachel, we always use the brine from the Good Eats Roast Turkey. We even use it for our pork ribs before we smoke them. Comes out so tender.

      Reply

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    Anna L — November 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I like you on facebook

    Reply

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    Anna L — November 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I like you on twitter

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    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes — November 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I like Lauren’s Latest on Facebook.

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    Sandy F. — November 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I already “Like” Lauren’s Latest on facebook! :)

    Reply

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    Sandy F. — November 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I “Like” Butterball on facebook! :)

    Reply

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    Sandy F. — November 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I “Shared” Lauren’s Latest link for the Thanksgiving Recipes Part II: Cooking a Perfect Turkey and another turkey giveaway on facebook! :)

    Reply

  13. #
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    Jackie W — November 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Following on FB

    Reply

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    Jackie W — November 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    following on Twitter

    Reply

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    Shannon — November 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Gosh this made me starving for Thanksgiving. Also, I follow you on Facebook :)

    Reply

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    Amy D. from Chicago — November 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I like you on facebook (and in real life too).

    Reply

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    Amy D. from Chicago — November 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I like Butterball on Facebook.

    Reply

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    Diana — November 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I follow you on facebook

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    Kristi — November 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I liked Lauren’s Latest on Facebook.

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  20. #
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    Michelle B — November 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Like you on Facebook

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    Michelle B — November 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Follow you on Twitter

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    Cheryl Newton — November 9, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Like you on Facebook. Heck, even *not* on FB. Great blog!

    Reply

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    Cheryl Newton — November 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    And now I liked Butterball on FB! Awesome giveaway. (Shhhh: It would be the 1st time I’ve ever cooked a whole turkey!)

    Reply

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    Diane in Cincinnati — November 9, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I already like/follow you on Facebook.

    Thanks for the details on how to cook a turkey – I’ve never had the giblets (!!!) to do it before. Do you put it in the pan breast up or down?? My mom was a firm believer of breast down but yours looks breast up.

    Reply

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    Danielle — November 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I like you on facebook!

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    Danielle — November 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I follow your twitter

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    Tasha N. — November 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I already like you on Facebook!

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    Tasha N. — November 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I already follow you on Twitter!

    Reply

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    Tasha N. — November 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I already like Butterball on Facebook!

    Reply

  30. #
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    Tasha N. — November 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I now follow Butterball on twitter!

    Reply

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    Tasha N. — November 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I shared this post on Pinterest :)

    Reply

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    Tasha N. — November 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I shared this post on Twitter!

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  33. #
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    denise — November 9, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    I like Lauren on FB

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    denise — November 9, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I liked Butterball on fb too

    Reply

  35. #
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    denise — November 9, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I shared on FB also

    Reply

  36. #
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    Cindy B. — November 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I like Lauren’s Latest on Facebook.

    Reply

  37. #
    38
    Cindy B. — November 9, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    I follow Lauren’s Latest on Twitter.

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  38. #
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    Cindy B. — November 9, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I like Butterball on Facebook.

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    Cindy B. — November 9, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    I follow Butterball on Twitter.

    Reply

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    Cindy B. — November 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I shared this giveaway on my Facebook page.

    Reply

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    Cindy B. — November 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I tweeted

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    Kim — November 10, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Liked and tweeted

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    Cara — November 10, 2011 at 2:47 am

    I liked you on facebook

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  44. #
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    Cara — November 10, 2011 at 2:48 am

    I follow Lauren’s Latest on twitter

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    Cara — November 10, 2011 at 2:48 am

    I liked butterball on facebook

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    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — November 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I like you on facebook!!! Yummy looking turkey!

    Reply

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    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — November 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I like Butterball on facebook!

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    Amber — November 10, 2011 at 3:36 pm
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    Fj Maris — November 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Iliked on FB

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