Nana Recipe Monday — Turkey Roasted in Foil

by Sarah on November 25, 2013

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Vintage turkey!  Other than using a better roasting pan, we make the same one. Same dressing (not stuffing), same of almost everything.

I suppose it comes down to the old ‘if it ain’t broke scenario’.  Of course, I like turkey, but I like it more the next day laying between two slices of white bread, some mayonnaise and iceberg lettuce.

Thanksgiving and Christmas have always kind of been a big deal with our relations.  We break out the good china, pop the champagne, polish the silver, put out the decorative gourds and light some candles.  We even wear nice clothes. It’s major.

Then we stuff ourselves silly with an insane amount of food and then lay around in a food coma.  The end.

About 15 (?) years ago, I started a tradition with my cousins that we would go out for drinks after the big dinner–mostly to get away from the ‘grown ups’ and party down a little bit (sorry grown ups).  My uncle would even drive us to and from downtown San Jose, which is both hilarious and incredibly nice.  My kids are now 21 and 23 and I am a dinosaur so I think I might bow out of the tradition and let the young folks go without me.  I am sure that they will all make fun of me mercilessly. Sue me, I’m tired after making all that damn food.

So let me tell you about this turkey.  It’s essentially steamed.  YES.  Don’t shake your head or think I’m crazy.  Wrapping the whole dang bird in foil actually helps keep this guy pretty juicy.  Just use Nana’s timelines as a GUIDE but make sure to use your meat thermometer to ensure it is done and not under/overcooked.  I actually compared Nana’s timelines and they almost exactly what the Epicurious guide is.  (The time guides are based on a STUFFED turkey.  This method actually cooks a fairly large turkey very quickly if there is no dressing or stuffing inside)

To make this guy beautiful and browned, open the foil as far as you can and let it finish the final 15 minutes uncovered.

Happy Thanksgiving guys!

Some other ideas for your Thanksgiving meal:

(Please excuse the poor photography in some of these, a lot are OLD  post and I need to re-do them!)

Icebox Rolls         Nana’s Wild Rice Dressing           Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Nana’s Lemony Carrots and Apples          Roasted Carrots with Orange and Paprika

Thomas Keller’s Creamed Onions           Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Stewed Green Beans with Tomatoes         Sweet and Sour Greens

Apple and Cranberry Pie with Streusel Topping         Bourbon Pecan Pie

Pomegranate Chiffon Pie      Sherry Pumpkin Chiffon Pie      Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Nana's Turkey Roasted in Foil


  • 1 Turkey (whatever weight you choose)
  • Dressing or stuffing if you care to use it
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • salt, pepper
  • Large, thick aluminum foil


  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Take 3 strips of foil the same size, enough to wrap the turkey in, with a bit left over to seal the ends. Lay the strips next to each other and fold them together in small folds so that they are all connected, making one large piece of foil.
  • Place turkey in the center.
  • Pour about 1/3 of the butter into the cavity of the turkey. Season with salt and pepper.
  • If using dressing or stuffing, make sure it is cool and loosely stuff the turkey cavity. Secure the turkey legs using cooking twine, or cut a slit in the 'pope's nose' (the flap of fat on the turkey's butt) and stuff the legs in there. (There is a photo showing this)
  • Flip the turkey over gently and pour a bit of butter and season the turkey's neck cavity. Fill that up with dressing too, if you are using it.
  • Pour the remainder of the butter on the exterior of the turkey, rubbing it all over the skin. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
  • Bring the edges of the foil together over the turkey. Seal the foil. Roll the ends of the foil at the turkey's head and butt.
  • Place turkey on a rack in a sturdy roasting pan and roast for approximately the following times--remember to test temperature at least a half hour before you expect it to be done. You will want to remove the turkey at 150 and let it rest until it comes to 165.
  • At about 145 degrees, I would pull back the foil and let the top of the turkey brown.
  • Weight: 7-9 lbs 10-13 lbs 14-17 lbs 18-21 lbs 22-24 lbs
  • Hours: 2 1/4-2 1/2 2 3/4-3 3-3 1/4 3/ 1/4- 3 1/2 3 1/2-3 3/4

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