A very “southern Grandma” way to make your turkey. But somehow, cooking your turkey in a brown paper bag makes it come out perfect and delicious every time! They didn’t have fancy cooking bags back in the day and trust me, it’s not the same. So if you’re wondering how to cook the perfect turkey while doing something different, the brown paper bag turkey is the way to go!
Brown paper bags are still a thing, and you just need to ask for them at the grocery store. You might want to get the biggest one that is available, and test fit your bird to make sure it will fit. And as you might be wondering, the paper bag does not burn! You’ll just need to rub it with oil, and then the steam and juices from the turkey will keep it moist. You can also rub the inside with butter for some extra flavor
Prep work makes the Brown Bag Turkey Work
Your time has come, the family has bestowed the honor of making the Thanksgiving Turkey upon you. This prestigious privilege is one of many burdens but fret not, we’re going to walk you through making a Brown Bag turkey the Dan-Way. In terms of preparing a turkey, there’s about 8 steps we need to take to make it perfect.
Defrost the Turkey
Temper the Turkey
Tidy up the Turkey
Season the Turkey
Stuff the Turkey (optional)
Add some fat
Truss the turkey (optional)
Roast the turkey
This may seem like an overwhelming amount of steps but we’re going to make it as simple as possible for you. Let’s begin.
Step One: Defrost the Turkey
For the vast majority of people, you’re starting with a frozen turkey. The general rule of thumb is for every 5 pounds of turkey, you’ll need 24 hours to defrost in the fridge. So for a 19-20 pound bird, you’ll need roughly 4 days to defrost the turkey. Now, if you’re reading this the day of thanksgiving and forgot to thaw your turkey, we’ve got some advice for you too.
By submerging your turkey in ice water, then it can be defrosted in 8-12 hours. However, this isn’t a sit it and forget like thawing in the fridge. You’ll have to be diligent about checking the water’s temperature and making sure it’s never hitting 40 degrees. Most people will do this in a sink but you could do it in a large bucket, just make sure whatever you use is sanitized and clean for your bird.
Step Two: Temper the Turkey
About one hour before you’re planning to cook, you’ll need to remove the turkey from the fridge, and let it sit on a roasting rack and get to room temperature. Turkeys cook more evenly when not completely chilled. About 15-20 minutes before you’re planning to roast, preheat your oven at 325 degrees fahrenheit. Your turkey will cook at about 15 to 17 minutes per pound at this temperature.
Step Three: Tidy up the Turkey
This is an easy step, just remove the giblets from the turkey and check the neck as well. You can save the neck and giblets for stocks, stuffing, gravy, or whatever else you have a recipe for.
Step Four: Season the Brown Bag Turkey
This step is easy. Using your Dan-O’s melted butter mixture, rub it all over the turkey and its cavity. Get it nice and seasoned up!
Step Five: Stuff the Turkey (Optional)
Whether you stuff your turkey or not is a personal preference. We don’t recommend it, it can affect the cooking process and dry out your turkey. But we do recommend adding some aromatics to the cavity like onions, celery, carrots and whatever else you think sounds good. Give that turkey a little love and originality.
Step Six: Add some fat to the Brown Bag Turkey
We’ve already done this step but adding a little more isn’t going to hurt it. Just take some room temperature or melted butter and rub it all over that turkey. Be gentle, but thorough. You don’t have to add more since you added the buttered Dan-O’s mixture but hey, no harm no fowl.
Step Seven: Truss the Turkey (Optional)
Trussing isn’t necessary but if you’ve stuffed your cavity and want that bird to cook more evenly then it doesn’t hurt to truss it. Simply tuck the wing tips behind the bird’s shoulder and lock them into place. Now, tie the end of the drumsticks together using kitchen twine pulling them together and tying the knot.
Step Eight: Roast the Brown Bag Turkey
Congratulations, you’ve reached the final stage! Remember it’s 15-17 minutes per pound at 325 degrees fahrenheit. Always check your turkey’s internal temperature before removing from the oven, and make sure you let the Brown Bag turkey rest for about an hour before you start carving.