Thursday, November 22, 2012

Paper Bag Turkey

 I have been teased a lot about this method--until someone tastes the turkey it produces.

It requires no brining, no basting, no deep-fat frying, no unusual ingredients, no injected butter or other ingredient, but this baby is moist, moist, moist.  And without all those steps or extra ingredients, it is easy and healthy!

You may think this is crazy, but you need to try it. 

I've made this many times over the past fifteen years (I make turkey more often than at the holidays).  It has never burned and is always beautifully golden.  My mother was taught to cook a turkey this way from my great-grandmother.  (Helen, for those of you who happen to share a great-grandmother.)
Secret family recipe about to be shared!

Step 1:  Obtain a regular grocery store paper bag.

Step 2:  If it has handles, rip them off.

Step 3:  Grease the bag.  
Pam spray is the easiest way (you can use any flavor), but I've also used plain old vegetable oil many times.

Step 4:  Open up all the folds to make sure the entire surface is oiled.

Step 5:  Make sure the whole bag is greased.  
Rub the oil around to make sure you don't have any dry spots.

Bing!  Shiny, breathable (unlike plastic) paper bag.

Step 6:  Prepare your turkey.  
Make sure you get all of the parts out the turkey (ie: the bag of organs and the neck).  Besides that, I am a purest.  I don't add anything except stuffing.  

After you've stuffed the neck, fold the excess skin under the turkey.  Bend the wings backwards to hold the skin (and, therefore, stuffing) in place.
Yes, I've seen the pins on Pinterest on how to make my pans look like new again.  Frankly, I don't care.  They aren't new; they are well used.  :)

Step 7:  Slip the stuffed turkey into the paper bag like a pillow into a pillowcase.  
If you buy the most humongous turkey you can find, like I always do, get help for this part.
Step 8:  Put the bagged turkey in the pan.
I have this inexpensive roaster that I use, but I used a regular 9 x 13 for many years before I got it.  The only disadvantage of the casserole pan is that it sometimes doesn't have enough room for the juices.  Put another pan under it to catch drips.
Make sure the bag is tucked in.

Step 9:  Bake at 325 degrees for however long your package suggests (so long for so many pounds--it will be different with each turkey.)  Make sure your rack is low enough that the bag won't touch the upper elements (this is true with whichever method you use!).  Sometimes it will smoke a little.  
Don't panic.  Totally normal.

Ta-dah!  Pull out a perfect turkey and let everyone oooh and ahhh over its beauty and deliciousness.

Be sure to use those happy juices to make the gravy.  Homemade gravy is so much better than the packets!

There you go.  
The paper-mache turkey.  
Should you need to make a second turkey after Thanksgiving so you have enough "left-overs," consider this time-tested way.  
You'll be amazed.

The Great-grandaughter
Passing on the Secrets


  1. Ooooh, thanks for the secret! That looks so yummy- I think I'll be cooking another turkey soon. :)

  2. Paper-Bag TURKEYS are the BOMB!! We are true believers!!!