Slow Cooked Turkey

by Juan Wilson

©1997 The Gobbler: Autumn Feast

My suggestion on turkey cooking is this: do it for as long as you can bear at as low a temperature as you dare. I usually do a turkey at about 275 degrees for about 45 minutes per pound. This means a 16 pound turkey will take about 12 hours. If you want to eat a 4 pm you'll be up at 4 am putting the bird in the oven. Either stay up having a party or set an alarm clock. I start the bird on the "wrong" side (its breast). After the bird is in the oven, go back to sleep til breakfast. After the morning coffee, roll the bird onto the "right" side (its back, breast up). This "roll-over" is so the bottom of the bird just doesn't drown in the juices the whole 12 hours. In the last hour or so of cooking I usually jack the temperature up to crisp the skin a bit.

The advantages of slow cooking are these,

  • Moist and tasty. No dry white meat
  • No basting required
  • Even cooking through the bird

The disadvantages of slow cooking are,

  • Getting up at 4 am
  • Fear by your great aunt that the bird is not cooked
  • you spill the bird on the floor during "roll-over"

I stuff the bird, but I don't use meat (giblets, sausage etc.). I recommend plain and simple stuffing.

  • seasoned bread stuffing
  • celery
  • onion
  • sage, etc.
  • no eggs
  • stuff you can eat raw

I also recommend making plenty of "raw" stuffing to mix with the moist fat soaked stuffing from the bird. I usually mix about 50% of "raw" and "cooked" stuffing. Do whatever makes the appropriate moisture and volume you need. Finally, as a rule of thumb...

You can't make too much of these items:

  • mashed potatoes
  • stuffing
  • gravy
  • apple and pumkin pie
Happy Thanksgiving!