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Simple Thanksgiving Turkey with Gravy

371.125 views / Nov 7, 2019

Juicy white meat, falling-apart dark meat, rich gravy — no stress. Thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this video! Go to for a free trial, and when you’re ready to launch, go to and add code “RAGUSEA" at checkout to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.


1 turkey, 12-15 lbs is the best size for even cooking
clarified butter (or oil)
dried sage
dried thyme
a couple onions
a couple sticks of celery
a few carrots
any poultry stock (I usually have 2-3 32 oz cartons on hand for this)

If using a frozen turkey, thaw it. You can do that by leaving it in the fridge for 24 hours for every four pounds of raw weight. If you don't have time for the fridge, you can submerge the still-wrapped turkey in the sink under cool tap water for an hour for every two pounds of raw weight. Change the water every half hour and keep the breast side facing down into the water. If you don't have time for either of those options, you can throw a frozen turkey straight into the oven, using my recipe here:

Get a big roasting tray, and open up the turkey's packaging right in the tray, so as to preserve all of the juice that comes out for your gravy. Take the giblets out and put them in the bottom of the tray to flavor the gravy. Score the legs by making several cuts all the way to the bone. Coat the turkey in clarified butter (or oil), salt, pepper, dried thyme and dried sage.

Turn the largest burner under your turkey on medium heat, and cook the underside of the bird for 20-30 minutes. If you smell anything burning, turn the heat down. While you're doing this, you can position some carrots, celery and onion halves around the turkey. You can also preheat your oven to 350 F, convection if you have it.

Roast your turkey until the deepest part of the breast reads 135-140 F. For an unstuffed 12-15 pound bird, that'll probably take 1-2 hours; a little longer if you don't have convection. Take the oven up to 500 F to finish cooking and brown the skin, maybe 30 more minutes. If the turkey looks like it's going to burn before the breast temp reads 160, turn the oven down. If anything on the bottom of the pan looks or smells like it's going to burn, pour in a little water. Take the turkey out when the breast reads 160 — carryover heat will take it to 165.

Remove the turkey to a plate and let it rest, uncovered, for up to an hour. If there's still a lot of juice mixed with the fat in your roasting tray, boil the tray on the stovetop until most of the juice is gone — when the boiling turns into something more like fizzing. Reduce the heat to medium and mix enough flour into the pan to make a thick paste — probably a cup or so. Stir and brown the resulting roux for a few minutes until you're afraid it's going to burn, then deglaze with stock, little by little, until you've achieved a gravy-ish consistency. When you bring the gravy to a boil, the roux will be at its full thickening capacity; add as much stock as you can while still getting the thickness that you want. Remember that gravy thickens as it cools. Simmer the gravy for as much time as you can spare, to extract flavor and color from the solids — I usually do about a half hour. Strain and discard the solids and taste for seasoning — I think you want it a bit too salty, since it will be diluted by the meat.

When the turkey is cool enough to handle, tear the leg quarters off the carcass with your hands. Cut the legs off of the thighs, and cut the breasts off of the carcass. Slice the breasts against the grain, being sure to leave the slices piled up against each other. Tear the meat off of the thighs with your hands, and slice it into bite-size pieces. Pile the dark meat, breast slices, and whole legs onto an oven-safe serving tray and reheat in the oven for five minutes. After you eat, tear any remaining meat off the carcass (including the wings) and use to make Thanksgiving leftovers pie (recipe forthcoming).

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