My household (my husband, dog, and I) celebrated Thanksgiving early this year. As we live many miles away from our family, and so do some of our friends, we decided to host a Friendsgiving. We decided to have it early because some of our friends do have family near by, and we still wanted them to come and grace us with their company. Why am I giving you all this information? Because I now have some essential Thanksgiving dishes to share with you before you partake in your own Thanksgiving day meal! First off, the turkey.
Turkey is my favorite meat, when I was a child and first heard of people being vegetarians I was flabbergasted, I thought how could anyone give up turkey?! I could never be a vegetarian because I love Turkey too much. I, now an adult, completely understand why some people become vegetarians, please don’t hate on my juvenile self. I did have a vegetarian guest at our Friendsgiving and made them Turkey seasoning falafels with a vegetarian gravy and she loved it! That recipe is coming soon.
I can go on and on about my love affair with turkey, but I guess I should get to the ingredients, directions, and tips! I hope this is helpful for y’all and here a few links to some yummy sides that would go with any Thanksgiving meal! Bacon Brussels (with vegan and vegetarian options), and Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Crumble
(This is for a 20lb turkey. I was serving 6 grown men and 2 women with this turkey. Plus I always want leftovers because they are the best part of the day after Thanksgiving, if you ask me)
3 sticks of unsalted butter softened
4 teaspoons of salt
4 teaspoons of dried rosemary and thyme
2 teaspoons of rubbed sage
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
for inside the turkey
1 sweet onion cut into 8ths
1 lemon also cut into 8ths
8-10 cloves of garlic smashed
1 teaspoon of salt, dried rosemary, and thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and rubbed sage
- Mix everything for the rub together until there are little to no lumps of butter.
- You want to open up the turkey and make sure you go into the cavity of the turkey and remove the neck and the giblets. This is my least favorite part of preparing a turkey so I always use gloves, like a whimp. The first time I prepared a turkey my mom was around and I asked her to do it for me!
- Next pre heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then rub this mixture all over the turkey. Make sure you are getting into all the nooks and crannies and under the skin of the breast. (tip: take the turkey out the night before, if using fresh, so the turkey is at room temp so the butter mixture sticks to the turkey)
- Cut the onion and lemon; smash the garlic; and measure the herbs. Stick them all into the cavity of the turkey. This helps create flavor from within the turkey.
- Now place the turkey breast side down in the pan and bake for 1.5 hours. This helps keep the breast meat nice and moist. Be sure to bast every 30 min.
- Then take out the turkey and flip it breast side up. I used clean thermal protection dish gloves, they worked great! Make a tent for the turkey so that the skin doesn’t char too early. This is what mine looked like the hour before the last half hour, but before this I had folded this in half to get the legs a little crispy.
- I cooked my turkey for 3.25 more hours at this temperature basting every 30 to 45 min. For the last half hour or forty five minutes I took the tent off to crisp up the skin. (tip: I know not everyone is making a 20lb turkey so here is a link to a turkey time table turkey timetable ) (tip 2: I would cook your turkey upside down for a quarter of the time it takes your whole turkey to cook)
- Take the turkey out measure the temp in the thigh and make sure it is at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If it reaches temperature let it rest for about half the time it takes for your turkey to bake then cut and enjoy! If it doesn’t reach temperature, that is okay stick it back into the oven until it does! (tip: doing this helps the juices settle and stay in the meat so you have juicier turkey)
- Gravy: I took about 3.5 to 4 cups of the drippings and heated them up in a small sauce pan and added a half cup flour with a half cup milk. Pour the flour and milk into the drippings and cook until it thickens to your liking. Make sure you whisk the gravy consistently. If your gravy has lumps, like mine did, run it through a fin mesh sieve.