Turkey: The King of Thanksgiving

Daylen irwin, Newspaper staff member

The turkey is a big bird in the genus Meleagris.

Some people say the early settlers were inspired by the queens action and roasted a turkey instead of a goose. The wild turkey is a native bird of North America.

How to Prepare a Turkey

First, if you have a frozen turkey, you will need defrost it COMPLETELY in the refrigerator with the plastic packaging or bag intact. Place it in a large, deep roasting pan to prevent leaks running through your refrigerator shelves while it defrosts.

The turkey will need 2-3 days to completely defrost depending on the size of your bird (about 5 hours of defrosting time per pound of turkey).

It can take up to three hours the day of roasting to get the chill out of the turkey (depending on the size of the bird). Allow it to come close to room temperature before cooking so it roasts evenly.

(A quicker method for defrosting is to submerge the turkey in cold water, changing the water occasionally to keep it cool.)

Once it has defrosted, pull out the neck and giblets (discard them or use them in soups or stews). Rinse the turkey inside and out and pluck out any stray feathers.

Pat dry with paper towel before roasting.

How to Cook a Turkey

  • Use a pan without the roasting rack (the garlic head halves create the ‘rack’).
  • Line your pan with parchment paper or foil to avoid the skin from sticking.
  • Stuff the cavity with halved garlic heads, lemon slice (optional) and sprigs of herbs to put flavor into turkey from the inside with the heat of the oven.
  • Tie the legs together and tuck the wings under its back to prevent the legs and wings from spreading out.
  • You can wrap the wings tips in foil for the first half of roasting if the heating element in your oven is at the top, or you have a small oven, or to prevent them from charring.


  • Before roasting, slather it with garlic herb butter all over AND under the skin to help retain all of the juices. I find melted butter works better to get all of those flavors evenly over the bird.
  • Slather it once more during the cooking process — after rotating the turkey onto its back. This creates an incredible golden skin.
  • Place turkey, breast-side down, over garlic, lemon and herbs. The aromatics will continuously cook through the meat — from the inside and outside.
  • Take your time. Don’t speed up the cooking process while roasting as it may cook unevenly.
  • A meat thermometer is crucial to help you know exactly when your turkey is cooked through.

If you love stuffing, cook it separately instead of stuffing it in the cavity to prevent the juices from absorbing into the stuffing instead of the meat. Stuffing generally adds more cooking time to your turkey which can also dry out the meat.

rent kinds of turkey, very lemony brined turkey, slow-roasted turkey, gin brined turkey, bacon bird with turkey neck gravy, torrisi’s turkey, herb-rubbed roast turkey, herbed turkey roasted in parchment.

The many health benefits of eating turkey include: turkey is a very rich source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptothan. Apart from these nutrients, it is also contains zinc and vitamin B12. The skinless white meat of turkey is low on fat and is an excellent source of high protein.

24 Thanksgiving Alternatives for Turkey Haters
  • Porchetta Pork Roast. By Melissa Clark. …
  • Stuffed Standing Rib Roast. By Julia Moskin. …
  • Easy. Salmon Roasted in Butter. …
  • Lasagna. By Regina Schrambling. …
  • Roast Lamb. By Julia Moskin. …
  • Easy. Twice-Cooked Pork Tenderloin. …
  • Garlicky Beef Tenderloin With Orange Horseradish Sauce. By Melissa Clark. …
  • Roasted Chicken Provençal. By Sam Sifton.
There are a few main turkey types out there: heritage birds, broad breasted white (most of which are conventionally raised with antibiotics) and organic. Broad breasted white turkeys are the most common in U.S. commercial turkey production and the most readily available in stores.
Turkeys can fly, they can also swim.