In Which Heidi Pretends to Be the Butterball Hotline

You guys, it’s almost time.

(If you are reading via email, you may want to click over and watch that video and laugh a little. It would be good for you. Hat tip to Ali.)

It occurred to me today that this is my sixteenth Thanksgiving as a married woman. (That made me feel old in a way that nothing else ever has. Even though I was practically a child bride.) With the exception of a few sad notable restaurant years, I have cooked every Thanksgiving meal. As such, I have built up some kitchen cred.
Since I am a giver, I thought it would be nice to share my knowledge. I turned to social media and asked:

Carol asked:

I had no idea. Remember when I tried going vegan and my hair started falling out? I can’t find a link, but I’m sure I mentioned it…
Anyway, thankfully, Barbara fielded that one:


And then she swore at me:

Tough crowd.

Over on facebook Sara asked: Will I survive Thanksgiving?
My answer? Yes, but just barely.

And Sarah (with an h) asked: Why do people make “traditions” out of food no one actually likes?
My reply: The same reason we spend holidays with people we don’t like*, doing things we don’t like: because it makes us happy. Right? Right? *cries*

Sarah also asked about stuffing. Hurray, something I actually know about. I referred her to this post.

Tara** wanted to know how to cook a turkey breast without it drying out. The answer is the same for a whole turkey. Use a brown paper bag.

How to Cook a Turkey in a Paper Bag

  • Prepare your turkey as you normally would: thaw; brine, if that’s your thing, or don’t, if it is not; rinse and pat dry; rub with olive oil and/or melted butter and whatever herbs and seasonings you prefer.
  • Place turkey in a large, new paper grocery bag.
  • Poke a meat thermometer through the bag into the meatiest part of the thigh (make sure not to touch the any bone).
  • Fold over bag opening and staple shut.
  • Place, breast side up, on a roasting pan with rack and place in oven, making sure that bag does not touch sides or heating elements.
  • Roast as usual. (I cook it at 350 until the internal temperature is 180 degrees.) Here is a handy chart, if you need it. And one for turkey breast only.
  • Cut open your paper bag and allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

I promise, it will not be dry. Also most of the drippings will have filtered through the bottom of the bag to the roasting pan. These make wonderful gravy.

Here is a picture of last year’s masterpiece, taken moments too late to be very pretty.

Sorry. We were hungry.

Any other questions? Drop me a comment and I’ll see what I can do.



*Note: I like all my people. Don’t cry, Mom.

**Sara, Sarah, and Tara are not my only friends, but they should be. We would be a little like Heathers.
Note to self: find a scrunchy and start wearing it immediately.


  1. I am not CERTAIN I swore at you. But that is one beautiful turkey.

    • Thank you. 🙂

  2. That turkey is missing a femur.

    • Indeed.

  3. Love this. I have decided against stuffing the turkey this year, since a 30 pound turkey was purchased without my consultation. However, I totally bookmarked your stuffing link for future reference.

    Also? This, for leftovers fun:

    • Thirty pounds? Oh my.
      Also, I love that video (the moist-maker!). And I should have credited you on the other one. Remedying now…

  4. My grandmother always cooked the turkey in a brown bag. It’s the easiest and best way. I tried other tricks over the years, but I usually brown bag it, too. 😀

    • Hurray! Grandmother’s recipe FTW!

  5. I’ll give it a try and pray its not dry. Thats not what i was going to say, but it rhymed ! I have not heard of this method before ~ but I am going to put it to the test !! Thanks for the tips im going to figure out how to brine !!

    • Let me know how it turns out. I think you’ll like it.



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