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Thanksgiving Turkey

Prepare oven according to Mugnaini’s Medium Roasting Environment, 550-625˚F


1 whole turkey, about 20 pounds
2 tablespoons Compound Butter
2 1⁄2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs, left whole
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 unpeeled orange, cut into four sections
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup water, more if needed

Compound Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1⁄2 teaspoon orange zest


Compound Butter: Combine all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Leftover butter can be rolled into a log, wrapped, and frozen for up to 3 months.

Turkey Preparation: Wash the turkey with cold water and pat dry with paper towels inside and outside. Slide your hand under the skin on the turkey breasts and loosen skin from meat. Rub half of the butter on each side. Season inside of turkey with 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper, and then stuff with thyme, garlic, and orange sections. Tie the turkey legs together. Rub olive oil over outside of turkey and sprinkle with remaining salt. Set turkey on its side on a “V” roasting rack set in a roasting pan. Place the celery, onion, and water on bottom of roasting pan. Place a heavy-duty foil tent over turkey and set in the oven with the back side facing the fire and the legs toward the rear of the oven. Leave in this position for 45 minutes.

Remove turkey from oven and turn breast side up in roasting pan. Insert an internal thermometer into both hip joints and begin to record temperatures. Add water to pan to keep bottom covered with liquid if necessary. Replace foil tent over turkey and set back in the oven with the lesser cooked side positioned towards the fire. Repeat internal temperature checks every 30 minutes and rotate pan, positioning lesser cooked side of turkey towards the fire. Baste turkey during temperature checks if needed. Continue to roast until internal temperature at each hip joint registers 165 degrees F. Total roasting time is usually 3 hours.

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