What To Do When Your Momma Gives You The Bird: How To Cook A “Melt-In-Your-Mouth” Turkey

I can take absolutely no credit for this—absolutely no credit whatsoever. It’s my mother’s recipe, and this year I will be attempting it for the first time. Thanksgiving is at our house, and I’m the chef. But I’m kind of a thief, as well, because I’m totally stealing her recipe. I wouldn’t cook a turkey any other way. My mother’s turkeys are always outstanding.

Truthfully, I’m not really a thief at all. My mother wrote out the recipe for me, so she’s clearly an enabler. She wants it done right for her sake, and the sake of all the guests. No one wants to eat a dry, flaky bird. I’m grateful that she did this, and she even went so far as to provide me with the bag to cook it in.

This “melt-in-your-mouth” turkey has been the talk at every year’s meal. It takes center stage, as it should. Without fail, each Thanksgiving my mother makes a more delicious turkey. I have a lot to live up to.

Because it’s so—as Rachael Ray would say, “YUM-O”—I thought I would share her secret because, well, there really is no need to stuff the bird with a lot of stuffing or other food products. Sometimes, simple cooking is best and yields the best results.

Here are her directions.

Size: Allow 2 lbs. per person

You Need: 1 turkey, 2 oranges, 1 large onion, 2-3 celery stalks, and 1 apple

Bake In: A disposable baking pan appropriate for turkey size and a Reynolds oven bag for baking.

Bake: Follow the directions on the Reynolds oven bag for “unstuffed turkey.”

To Prepare and Cook the Bird:

  1. Remove items from both turkey cavities.
  2. Rinse turkey cavities thoroughly.
  3. Salt both cavities (rub inside cavities with hand).
  4. In large cavity, insert 1 apple (halved), 1 orange (cut in quarters), and 1 celery stalk (halved).
  5. Squeeze 1 orange over outside of turkey.
  6. At this point, you will place the bird in the bag and follow directions for “Thanksgiving Turkey” on Reynolds oven bags under “Cooking Guide.”
  7. Be sure that the plastic bag does not touch sides or top of oven. Turkey should go on the lowest rack.
  8. Cook for the appropriate length of time according to the weight of your turkey.
  9. When it is done, cut plastic open wide and allow it to cool 15-20 minutes before slicing.

The fruit and vegetables inside this bird make it mouth-watering delicious.

Our 21-pound turkey is defrosting nicely in the fridge outside. Wish me luck. Two days and counting.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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