How to Cook the Perfect Turkey – TK Ranch Style!

We're posting our September 19, 2014 newsletter here on the blog. Click here to subscribe to our email newsletter, click the orange RSS button to the right to subscribe to our RSS feed, or just check our blog often for the latest news.

TK Ranch

TK Ranch Turkey Recipe

Let's Talk Turkey

Over the years we have received wonderful feedback regarding the quality of our free-range turkeys. The number one question is how to prepare a bird properly. I thought it would be worthwhile sharing how I prepare a turkey for our family gatherings on TK Ranch.

Free Range Turkey

Turkey 101

Being prepared helps boost a person's confidence, especially if this is your first time wrestling a 20 pound turkey — and believe me it can feel that way sometimes.

1. Buy your ingredients: If you have not pre-ordered one of our turkeys please do it right away. They will be processed next week and we have a limited offering. On TK Ranch most of us are gluten intolerant which means we need to buy gluten free bread or crumbs for the stuffing, you will need two loaves for a large bird. If you like gravy you will also need to have some gluten-free flour on hand, I like to use Namaste. You will also need a pound of butter, 2 large onions, 8 celery stalks, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and poultry seasoning for the stuffing — and lots of fresh garlic for the rub. You will need a small piece of tin foil — about 15 cm across — and some skewers.

2. Thaw the turkey: The first thing you need to do is give your bird enough time to thaw before it is prepared. The night before my turkey is to be cooked I fill my kitchen sink up with cool water and immerse the frozen bird — make sure you leave it in the packaging as this will prevent the bird soaking up excess water. It will be thawed by morning.

3. Prepare the stuffing: The night before I cut the slices of gluten free bread into large chunks — about 2 cm square — and place them into a large bowl or onto a cookie sheet to dry out overnight (and cover them with a tea towel). If you want to be really prepared you can also dice up the onions and celery the night before. Make sure you leave the butter out overnight so that it is soft for the rub.

4. Prepare your desserts — especially anything that needs to be baked because most ovens aren't big enough to cook a turkey and pies on the same day! Gluten free Pumpkin Pie is a staple here as well as Cranberry Pie — if you would like my recipes, please email me.

5. Prepare the turkey: I am an early riser and this is beneficial on days when I am expecting crowds of people for supper.¬† The first thing I do in the morning is check the turkey — drain the sink and once it is empty cut open the packaging on the bird and remove it. The turkey should be thawed or very close to it. Inside the bird you will find the giblets in a small plastic bag and the neck. My grandmothers always boiled the giblets in a small amount of water (excluding the liver) and then added this water to the gravy for flavour — I just feed them to our dogs. Once the giblets are removed I run tap water into the cavity of the bird to remove any leftover ice and rinse the bird very well. I then turn the bird over, pull the skin away from where the neck was and rinse this area well — this is where any leftover stuffing will be placed.

6. Pre-cook the stuffing: While your bird is rinsing place the onions and celery with a half pound of butter into a large pot and saute. When they are soft I add 1 tablespoon of sea salt, half a tsp of freshly ground black pepper and two tablespoons of poultry seasoning. Mix well and cook a little longer to blend the seasonings. Turn off the burner and add the bread crumbs to the cooked onions and celery. Mix everything well and set aside to cool.

7. Mix the Rub: Finely dice 6 large cloves of fresh garlic and mix it into half of the remaining butter. Set aside to blend the flavours.

8. Stuff the turkey: Lay a clean tea towel on the counter and give yourself lots of room. Lay the turkey down breast side up and release the legs if they were placed in a fold of skin to hold them. Look inside the bird to ensure there is nothing there and place your pot of stuffing down on the counter close by. I use my hands (because it is easier) and begin placing the prepared stuffing into the body cavity pressing it lightly to pack the body as full as possible. Once full I take a small piece of tin foil and place it over the stuffing (usually it is protruding from the body cavity) and tuck it in. This helps keep the stuffing from falling out and keeps moisture inside the bird. Carefully turn over the bird and stuff the neck area with the remaining breadcrumb mixture — I usually have lots of stuffing left over and end up stretching this skin so that the bird looks like a hunch-back. I secure the skin firmly to the back of the bird using one or two turkey skewers. Turn the bird back over and voila, you have successfully stuffed a turkey.

9. Truss the turkey: This is simply a term used to stabilize the bird by tying the legs and folding the wings. Take a small piece of string and tie the front legs together. The wings take a bit more skill — fold them down and tuck them under the bird — the only thing I can compare this to is undoing my bra — the wings should be in the same position, like the turkey was trying to undo its bra. Place the turkey into a large roasting pan that is fairly deep to catch the juices for gravy. Preheat your over to 425F.

10. Apply the rub: Take the butter/garlic rub and generoulsly slather it all over the bird. My daughters sometimes get creative and inject seasoned butter with a large needle and syringe into the breast as well. We also liberally season the bird with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

11. Cook the turkey: Place the bird in the center of your pre-heated oven UNCOVERED. Leave the oven at 425F for 30 minutes to seal in the juices of the bird. Turn down the heat to 325F and continue to cook the turkey (low and slow) until it reaches an internal temperature of 170F. You can baste the turkey several times while it is cooking to help keep it moist, but I prefer keeping this juice for gravy. A general rule of thumb is that it will take 20 minutes to cook one pound of turkey — so if you have a 20 pound bird it will take approximately 6.5 hours. Please ensure that you USE A MEAT THERMOMETER to temp your turkey or you risk overcooking the bird which dries it out — stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the leg to get an accurate reading.

12. Let the bird rest: After the bird has reached an internal temperature of 170F remove it from your oven. DO NOT SLICE IT FOR 15 MINUTES — let it relax to reabsorb the juices. While it relaxes you can remove the stuffing from both ends and prepare the gravy.

13. Carve the bird: Once the turkey has relaxed carve it and serve with your favourite dishes. On TK Ranch we always serve mashed potatoes, steamed carrots with honey and garlic, sweet potatoes with roasted pecans and maple syrup, canned beets and a large green salad.

14. Enjoy!


The last day to order for our upcoming EDMONTON delivery is this Sunday.

The last day to order is September 28th!

Nitrate-free Ham
Nitrite-free Ham is a great addition to any Thanksgiving feast


This week we uploaded almost every product that we carry. Please check out our on-line store for your family's favourites.

Nitrite Free Beef Jerky

Regular Grassfed Ground Beef

Grassfed Filet Mignon / Tenderloin Steak

Soy Free chicken Wings

Pork Leaf Lard

TK Ranch

Facebook Follow TK Ranch on Facebook

Almost every day we are posting pictures, articles or videos to help you keep up with not only what we are doing, but what is happening in the food system as a whole.

Animal Welfare Approved
I want to thank all of you for your continued support. Good luck with your harvest, even if you are only picking cherry tomatoes on your balcony, and enjoy the fall weather.

Colleen Biggs
TK Ranch

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
– Wendell Berry

Leave a comment

Comment moderation is on (but comments are appreciated). You must be 18 to leave comments. Don't post links unless highly pertinent.

Manage your subscriptions

TK Ranch® · Ethical By Nature® · Alberta, Canada
An ethical and humane choice for quality grass-fed beef and lamb, heritage pork, soy-free chicken and free-range turkey
No antibiotics · No drugs · No added hormones · No animal by-products · No insecticides
The TK Ranch Blog
Tell a Friend Visit us on Facebook Visit us on Twitter Visit us on Google+ Visit us on Instagram Visit us on Pinterest
© 1995-2017 TK Ranch®. All Rights Reserved. Website Assistance by DianeV Web Design Studio