Submitted by Roni Robbins
This will be my first year ever making a turkey. In the past we’ve been hosted by others for Thanksgiving, but COVID has changed all that. Still, I’m up for the challenge. Asking around about recipes and procedures, my bestie offered this sweet and savory turkey from her cousin Marcia Shane of Tampa, Fla.
“The first time I ever made a turkey, I used this recipe, and it came out amazing,” said my friend Wendy Vitale. So here’s hoping I’ll have equal success with my first turkey and you will enjoy this Thanksgiving main attraction too.
12- to 20-pound turkey
1 jar apricot preserves
Coffee liqueur (1 to 2 cups, depending on the size of the turkey)
Mrs. Dash seasoning
Preheat oven to 325 F. Adjust your oven rack so the turkey will sit in the center of the oven.
If the turkey is frozen, thaw in the fridge, 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. Shane said, “I like to give myself an extra day, just to be safe.” Remove the turkey from the fridge about an hour before roasting. Place turkey on the roasting rack inside a roasting pan, breast side up, tucking the wings underneath the turkey.
Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Add water to the bottom of the pan. Be sure to remove giblets and/or neck from the turkey cavity. Place whole peeled onion inside the turkey. Coat turkey with the apricot preserves. Pour the coffee liqueur over the turkey. Shake Mrs. Dash seasoning onto the turkey. Cover the turkey with foil. (See below for alternative methods) Then cook low and slow basting as needed.
A rule of thumb on timing for cooking turkeys is 13 to 15 minutes per pound, although turkeys cook faster in a convection oven. For example, bake an 18-pound turkey for about 4 to 4 ½ hours until 160 F. Uncover for the last half hour or so to brown the turkey. Once done, transfer the turkey to a serving platter, cover with foil again and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Carve and serve. After the turkey is finished cooking there will be juice and browned cooked bits at the bottom of your roasting pan. You can reserve this for making turkey gravy.
Alternative cooking methods:
Instead of using foil and basting, you can cook the turkey in an oven bag, as my friend Wendy did when she prepared it.
If using a disposable roasting pan, place fresh chopped vegetables on the bottom of the pan to act as a rack elevating the turkey. Use 4 to 5 ribs of celery and 4 large carrots, roughly chopped. The veggies will add great flavor for your dripping to use for gravy. However, it’s not recommended to eat them or use them in gravy.