"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Roasted Turkey

This is for my Ate Cris in Canada. We were talking on Skype last night, and she
From Roasted Turkey
asked me how I cooked the turkey when I visited her last 2006. I promised I would give her the instructions. She got a free turkey from the grocery store that time we cooked it. First time she witnessed turkey being cooked, and first time to have a taste of a deliciously prepared turkey (the prior ones she tasted were like cardboard, she said).

First check if your turkey is brined or not. Turkey should be completely thawed. If you bought frozen turkey, it might take 2-5 days to completely thaw in the refrigerator depending on the weight (or use cooler with some ice, if you place the cooler out in your garage or porch). Do not thaw in room temp.

Once completely thawed, if your turkey is not brined, brine it in kosher salt:cold water mixture of 2 cups:1 gallon (1 cup only if table salt). Use your cooler (clean first!) to submerge the whole turkey. Add spices like garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and onions if you desire. Brine at least overnight, preferably two nights before you plan to bake the turkey. Then rinse, wipe and put on a cooling wire rack on top of baking pan, place in the fridge to let air dry for at least 4 hours (drying helps make the skin crisp when you bake). You can start the airdrying night before you are going to bake.

When ready to bake, prepare your spices:
whole garlic, cloves separated, roasted in oven toaster for 7 mins, mashed, and mixed with 1 tbsp each of rosemary leaves and crushed lemongrass. This is your garlic paste.

Separate skin from meat using your fingers or the blunt handle of wooden spoon. Place some garlic paste under skin. Massage to distribute. Wipe skin and cavity lining. Rub some paste onto skin and lining.

Stuff the cavity with:
1 whole onion, 1 whole garlic, bunch of lemongrass, rind of lemon (use the juice in something else), innards (liver and gizzard).

Place on a rack on top of roasting pan with chunks of onions, carrots, celery, and water to cover the veggies.

Place oven rack on lowest position. Heat oven to 400 deg and bake turkey covered with foil for 30 mins. Uncover, spray skin with oil (or brush), and sprinkle with garlic salt and freshly milled/ground pepper. Put back in, turn heat to 350 deg. Bake for additional 3 hours (or more depending on the weight -- check out below from guideline I got from wiki). If skin is crispy brown already, cover with foil and bake again for another 30 minutes or until done.

Take turkey out and let rest on the platter, covered loosely with foil. Wait at least 10 minutes before carving. This will redistribute the juice so you will not end up with dry meat on the breast part.

Prepare gravy. (Use fat separator if you have one.) Place the pan on stove top and using a silicone spatula, loosen the crust formed (if any). Add water (or white wine), season with salt and pepper and soy sauce if needed, to come up with around 2-3 cups of gravy. Don't forget to get the liver and mash it in the sauce. Once you got the taste right, continue to boil while you mix 1/2 cup flour with 1 cup water. Using wire whisk, while sauce is briskly boiling, add in thin streams the flour/water mixture and continue stirring until you have achieved the right thickness. Strain the gravy.

Of course, you prefer to eat this with rice, not mashed potato. But if you want to have mashed potatoes, peel and boil with some salt about 10 medium potatoes for 4-5 people (Yukon or Russet or White) for about 30 minutes on high (don't let water dry out). Add about 1/4 cup of butter, cut up to make them melt easily. Using hand beater, mash the potatoes first before turning on to medium setting. Add about 1/4 cup of half and half cream (or just enough to achieve consistency you want). Serve with butter on top, and let people sprinkle pepper and/or salt.

Hope my instructions are clear! Enjoy your turkey!


How long to thaw frozen turkey:

Turkey Thawing Time in the Refrigerator (40 degrees F):
Approximately 24 hours per 5 pounds

Whole Turkey Weight Thawing Time
8 to 12 lbs 1 to 2 days
12 to 16 lbs 2 to 3 days
16 to 20 lbs 3 to 4 days
20 to 24 lbs 4 to 5 days
Turkey Thawing Time in Cold Water: Approximately 30 minutes per pound.
Change water every 1/2 hour.

Whole Turkey Weight Thawing Time
8 to 12 lbs 4 to 6 hours
12 to 16 lbs 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 lbs 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 lbs 10 to 12 hours

Source: GlobalGourmet
How long to bake turkey:

USDA Roasting Timetable for Fresh or Thawed Turkey at 325° F.

These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer. The USDA does not recommend cooking turkey in an oven set lower than 325° F.

8 to 12 pounds 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 hours

8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

Source: WikiAnswers


  1. I've moved to another subdomain that is easier to remember, it is http://bornfoodie.blogspot.com.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Very clear, manang. My girls like having crispy skin on their turkey too. My daughter actually suggested we try a recipe she found online called pabochon. haha!! I'll have to check it out.

  3. Hiya Manang! Long time no talk! How are you? I am unfortunately cooking turkey for christmas dinner so I had to come and check your blog if you have this "how to cook a turkey" instructions and thank goodness you have!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    TitaPro of SingSnap


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