The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine      November 21, 2003    PAGE ELEVEN      
CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12

  Featured Articles
 News & Product of the Month
 Holidays and Holy Days
 The Wonder of Gratitude
 Jo Cordi's  Lifestyle Series
 Grace For The Graceless
 Gratitude Starts on the Inside
 Giving Thanks
 The Power of "Dainty"
 Seeing Beauty
 Thanksgiving Feast!
 Cooking with Jarret Hughes
 Eating Out at Work


Almond Flour

Sugarfree TWIST

  How To Roast A Turkey by Jarret Hughes

Jarret Hughes has held numerous cooking positions at cafes, diners, and family restaurants. He takes a "keep it simple" attitude toward cooking, preferring olive oil to truffle oil. Jarret strives to inform readers about the history of various foods while offering professional advice regarding food purchase and preparation.

"Please pass the gravy." This was the most common request at grandma's house every Thanksgiving. I'm not quite sure how grandma used to cook her turkey, but legend has it that she would start roasting it at 3:00 AM on Thanksgiving Day. That would have been fine, if dinner was served at 7:00 AM. Instead, dinner was at 1:00 PM and grandma left the oven on "warm" all morning. The turkey was drier than cotton candy. Every year at the dinner table, grandma would say, "The turkey came out a little dry this year." Everyone just smiled and asked for more gravy.

With a little knowledge and preparation, your roast turkey will be fantastic. Nobody will even notice if the gravy is missing from your low-carb dinner table!

Selecting a turkey

Unless you can order a fresh turkey from your butcher, you should buy a frozen bird. Some people think they can go to the grocery store two days before Thanksgiving and pick up a large, fresh turkey. Usually, they are disappointed to find that all of the decent fresh turkeys have been sold. These fresh-seekers are stuck buying frozen turkeys with very little time left to thaw them.

There is practically no difference in taste between fresh and frozen turkeys. I've had wonderful tasting fresh turkeys and I've had horrible tasting fresh turkeys. The same can be said for frozen birds. Therefore, save yourself the aggravation of hunting down a fresh gobbler and buy frozen.

The only complication with buying a frozen turkey is that you have to thaw it prior to cooking. As long as you keep in mind that it takes several days to thaw a turkey, you won't have any problems.

Turkeys should be thawed in the refrigerator. A good rule of thumb is one day of thawing time in the refrigerator for every 4 pounds of turkey. That means a 20-pound turkey will take approximately 5 days to thaw in the refrigerator.

Turkeys can also be thawed using the cold water technique, but this is an incredible pain in the rear. This method entails submerging the turkey in cold water for several hours until the turkey is thawed. The water must be kept very cold and, thus, must be replaced with fresh water every 30 minutes to help prevent bacteria growth. A 20-pound turkey will take at least 10 hours to thaw using the cold water method. Never thaw a turkey on the kitchen counter!

It makes no difference whether you buy a hen (female) or tom (male) turkey. The amount of meat and the proportions of white to dark meat are the same for both sexes. The only difference is that toms have the potential to grow much larger than hens. It is rare to find a hen over 15 pounds.

Cooking the turkey

There are several cooking methods for turkeys: roasting, deep-frying, smoking, and grilling. Since roasting continues to be the most popular, I'm only going to focus on this cooking method.

One of the advantages to roasting a turkey is that it makes the house smell good! Many people only roast turkeys once or twice a year, which makes the smell that much more special. It's this smell that signals the beginning of the holiday season, by invading our nostrils and filling us with a sense that all is right with the world.

The major disadvantage of roasting is that it takes up a lot of oven space. And if three casserole dishes are waiting for the turkey to come out of the oven so they can go in, the entire timing of the meal can be thrown off. So, plan carefully!


Even though it requires a little extra work, I would suggest that you brine your turkey prior to roasting it. The brining process makes turkey moister by increasing the amount of liquid inside the meat cells. To make a turkey brine, mix one gallon of water with cup of table salt in a large pot, or clean five-gallon bucket. The pot/bucket needs to be large enough to hold both the brine and the turkey. Also, make sure you have enough space in your refrigerator for the container! Place your cleaned turkey into the brine so that the entire bird it submerged. You will probably need to make more brine, depending on the size of your turkey. At this point, you can add other spices to the brine or keep it as just water and salt. Garlic, onion, and herbs (thyme is a good one) can add some zip to the turkey. Personally, I don't like to add many spices, but feel free to add anything you desire. Soak your turkey in the brine for 6 to 10 hours in the refrigerator, turning once to ensure even brine distribution. When it is time to roast the turkey, simply take it out of the brine and rinse it off with cold water. Be sure to rinse all of the brine off before patting the turkey dry. Do not reuse the brine.


If you don't want to fuss with the brining process (or just don't have room in your refrigerator), you can still roast a great turkey! Whether you use the brine or not, follow these simple steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 F.

  2. Clean your turkey thoroughly under cold water. Don't forget to take the packet(s) containing the neck, gizzards, etc. out of the turkey's body cavity before cooking!

  3. Grease your turkey evenly with oil (canola works well) or clarified butter. This will help give your turkey a nice brown color. You can use regular butter, but be aware that the outside of your turkey may have freckles where the milk solids collected.

  4. Stuff your turkey, but not with stuffing! I don't endorse putting stuffing in turkey. Stuffing a turkey will increase the cooking time and it will also increase the probability of getting sick from undercooked stuffing. And you don't need another thing to worry about on Thanksgiving! If you want to make stuffing, I would suggest baking it in a separate pan. If you feel a need to shove something up your turkey's body cavity, stuff it with aromatics for extra flavor-thyme, onions, garlic, etc.

  5. Position your turkey on the rack of a shallow roasting pan. Make sure the sides of the pan are not too high, because high sides will hinder the turkey's ability to brown evenly.

  6. Cook your turkey breast side down for the first hour. Flip your turkey around and cook breast side up for the remaining time. Brush the turkey with oil or butter every 30 minutes and rotate the pan to ensure even cooking.

  7. The following table gives general guidelines for cooking your bird. Notice how much longer the cooking time is if you stuff the turkey! Also, don't trust those pop-up timers that come with the turkey - they are often inaccurate. Instead, use your own meat thermometer (either dial or instant read) to determine when the turkey is done. Insert the thermometer into the thigh at least a couple of inches, but without touching the bone. When the temperature reads 180 F, your turkey is done. You should leave your turkey in longer if you like it dry (like grandma's turkey). Otherwise, 180 F in the thigh is the golden rule. Let your turkey rest for 15-20 minutes before carving it.


If your turkey doesn't come out perfectly, don't let it ruin your Thanksgiving. I'll guarantee that it will still be better than grandma's turkey. And we can all be thankful for that!


Copyright © November 2003  Jarret Hughes and Low Carb Luxury
Title photo Copyright © 2003  Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury

Low Carb Chocolates

You won't find a more Delicious Low Carb Chocolate Bar than Ross!

Ross Chocolates will help you stick to your diet! All orders for 36 bars or more receive an automatic 15% discount. Start the new year right with a full supply for when temptation strikes!

Low Carb Chocolates Use the coupon code
NEWBIE and get FREE SHIPPING AND HANDLING for all first time customers who order just 1 Sampler Pack.

Ross Chocolate Bars come in Almond, Supreme, Coconut, Cherry, Orange, Raspberry, Crunchy, Dark, Mint, and White!

Taste-test results are in! Read what your fellow low-carbers are saying about this chocolate!
Chocolates covered Berries
A Tasty Idea!

Try melting two of our Cherry or Raspberry Ross Chocolate Bars in the microwave; then dip cold fresh berries in the warm chocolate. The cold berries will quickly set the chocolate and you'll have a low carb treat that can't be beat!

Visit our site for the best low carb chocolates in the world!

(888) 267-2065


Contents copyright © 2003 Low Carb Luxury.   All rights reserved.  Use of this site constitutes your acceptance of our Terms and Conditions.     Design and Development by  Accent Design Studios.