How to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving: Two classic methods (1911)

Note: This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.

Thanskgiving turkey - Vintage postcard

Note: This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.

How to cook a turkey

It is supposed that nearly every housewife knows how to clean the turkey, but of course, there are many newlyweds, or housewives beginning housekeeping for the first time, who will have to learn how to cook a turkey. For the cooking after the bird is dressed, there is need of considerable care, and we give a few instructions.

After stuffing and trussing the bird, dredge flour over it and place it, breast down, in the baking pan, pouring in the pan a cupful of boiling water. Set the pan on the floor of the oven and bake for two hours, basting frequently with the water in the pan.

At the end of that time, turn the bird over on its back and rub a little melted butter over the breast, then bake for another hour on the bars of the oven, basting frequently. If the breast seems to be browning too quickly, lay a piece of buttered paper over it.

A ten-pound turkey requires three hours steady roasting. Test by running the prongs of the carving fork into the body just inside of the leg; if the juice which runs out shows no redness, as of blood, the turkey is done; if it does, cook a little longer.

Boil the gizzard for fifteen minutes in salted water; drain and chop fine. Remove the bird from the baking pan to a heated platter and set in the oven with the door open while preparing the gravy.

For the gravy, pour off some of the fat from the baking pan and thicken the remainder with a tablespoonful of flour which has been slightly browned on a tin plate; season with salt and pepper and add the chopped giblets. Let the whole boil up once and pour into a heated gravy boat. Put a paper frill on the end of the turkey’s drumsticks and a plume of celery on its breast.

Before dressing, either draw the tendons from the drumsticks yourself, or get the butcher to do it for you. The drumsticks will be nice and tender, and far more edible, if this is done.

To cook a turkey (Method 2)

Wash the fowl well inside and out and take a small stale loaf of home-made bread, crumble it very fine, rub into it a quarter of a pound of the best butter. Add a pint of oysters chopped fine and seasoned well with pepper and salt.

Fill the turkey, put the legs in the slits made in drawing it, tie the wings close to the body and the skin of the neck over the bone; rub the whole over well with sweet lard, and it is then ready for the oven.

Put a little water into the baking pan to prevent burning and baste the turkey frequently while it is roasting. A large turkey will require 2-1/2 hours to cook. If preferred, chestnuts boiled and mashed can be used for stuffing and will be found delicious.

PS: If you liked this article, please share it! You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest, plus see exclusive retro-inspired products in our shop. Thanks for visiting!

More stories you might like

Because the fun never ends!

Comments on this story

Leave a comment here!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

See some of our books!