I was admittedly skeptical of this recipe ... but I was so incredibly curious, I had to try it.  And since Eric and I are by no means experts in the turkey roasting department - we threw caution to the wind and decided to give it a shot.


And I could hear a choir of angels singing when we pulled it out of the oven ... tender meat - you could literally pull the legs and wings off the bird without a knife.  The white meat was juicy, not dry at all.  And what I was personally thrilled about - was that I had perfectly seasoned - crispy turkey skin!  I could live all year just for crispy skin!


When I first looked at the recipe and saw that the bird was covered during the entire cooking time - I set myself up for thinking the skin would be pale and let’s face it, flabby.


Nothing could be further from the truth.  Golden and crispy.


Plus - the recipe yields the exact amount of “turkey stock” needed for my absolute new favorite gravy recipe.  I’ll post the gravy recipe tomorrow ... Eric and I both love it and it’s great with chicken too!


So without further hesitation ... here’s the recipe as found in “Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen” by Trisha Yearwood:


  1. -1 12-pound turkey, completely thawed, all giblets removed

  2. -1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened (a self-basting turkey won’t require the whole stick of butter)

  3. -2 tablespoons salt

  4. -2 teaspoons pepper

  5. -2 stalks celery, cut in lengths to fit in turkey cavity

  6. -1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, cut in half

  7. -1 large carrot

  8. -2 cups boiling water


You’ll need a roasting pan with a lid.  I used the inexpensive “speckled” one.


Adjust the oven racks so the covered roasting pan fits easily inside the oven.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.


Rub the butter on the outside and in the cavity of the turkey.  Sprinkle the salt and pepper on the inside and on the outside of the turkey.  Put the celery, onion, and carrot in the cavity.  (I also threw in an apple and a lemon - and tied the legs and wings at the last minute).


Place the turkey, breast side up, in a large roasting pan.


Pour the boiling water into the pan.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid and put the pan into the preheated oven.


Start the timer once the oven temperature returns back to 500 degrees.  Bake for EXACTLY 1 HOUR - and then TURN OFF THE OVEN.


DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR.


LEAVE the turkey in the oven until the oven cools; this may take 4 to 6 hours.  *We left this one pictured in the oven for the full 6 hours - the oven was cool, but the turkey was still piping hot!


Reserve the pan juices (I’ll post my favorite gravy recipe tomorrow) ... and refrigerate the turkey if it will not be served soon after roasting.


If you decide to do in advance and re-heat ... now that I’ve done this a couple times - what worked for me was to re-heat it in the oven (like on 300 - 325) after I had the bird disassembled into large pieces.  If you want even crispier skin, place the pieces under the broiler for a couple minutes. 


We served with a simple salad, Jeanne’s Sausage & Apple Dressing and Creamy Mashed Potatoes.


With a recipe as simple and delicious as this one - we will certainly be having turkey more often at our house! 


Happy Thanksgiving!!