Infographic: How to Roast A Turkey

It’s November, and you know what that means. In just a few weeks, all over the United States people will express their gratitude for family, health, and living in this great nation with the annual turkey-gravy-mashed-potato bender. Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday.

Here’s why:

  1. I love to cook and eat with family and friends, which is the whole point of Thanksgiving.
  2. I like the opportunity to evangelize for brussels sprouts.
  3. I like that there are no presents or non-food shopping involved, and since we boycott the national embarrassment of a tradition that Black Friday has become, it is a totally non-consumerist holiday for us.
  4. I like the challenge of making as much of the harvest festival feast as possible from our actual harvest.

If you are a bit intimidated by cooking that Thanksgiving centerpiece, the whole turkey, you are going to love this fantastic Turkey Roasting Inforgraphic. It comes from the geniuses at Visual News. Thanks guys for allowing me to share.

I would just add a few more things:

  1. Heritage birds really do have more flavor, so if you’ve got the cash for it this holiday season, go with a heritage bird.
  2. When in doubt, brine. When not in doubt? Brine anyway.
  3. Let your roasted bird rest for 10-30 minutes depending on the size of the bird after pulling it from the oven. This gives the juices a chance to stop freaking out and means a nicer slice on your plate.
What are your food and fun traditions for Thanksgiving?

A Visual Guide to Roasting Your First Turkey
Infographic by Visual News


  1. says

    Nice graphic. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday too – for all the reasons you stated. I love that it is strictly about food, family and gratitude.

    But we do buy one thing: My family has a tradition of giving a Christmas ornament on Thanksgiving, to start the Christmas season. Just one person buys all the ornaments (either my mom or I, sometimes we split the cost). It’s a fun tradition because every year we all get the same ornament and there is a sort of record of the year (the year we bought a house, everyone got gingerbread house ornaments, etc.). Each couple gets an ornament and each child gets one of their own. My mom started the tradition so that when my sister and I grew up and moved out we’d have at least 18 ornaments to take with us for our own trees. As an adult, I’ve helped pick out the ornaments, and it has been really fun. :)

    We also boycott Black Friday and we usually go cut down a Christmas tree on T-day weekend.

  2. Matt Jarvis says

    Good info – spells it out nicely… though I’m partial to smoking my turkey on the Weber, a lot of this still applies…

    One question (or nit pick) – I thought the new ‘rule’ was to not wash poultry so as to minimize spreading bacteria all over the place… I still do it, but just thought I’d point that out.

    Matt J
    Eugene, Oregon

    • Homebrew Husband says

      One of the best turkeys I ever had was smoked…ended up taking about four hours longer than we expected, so we’d already had the rest of the meal, but the result was fantastic.

      • Matt Jarvis says

        I’ve been lucky with turkey, not so much with ham…

        First time was with a fresh heritage bird, brined for a day, went like clock work – almost like I knew what I was doing.. ;) Took about 6 hours…

        Second time was a store bought, overnight brine, about 4-5 hours on the Weber (much smaller bird 2nd time around).

        Feeling rather confident at this point, tried to do a Easter ham… no matter what I did I just couldn’t get that thing up to temperature – got to 140 F when it was supposed to be munching time, gave it a couple more hours with 12 guests going stir crazy, still at 140 F some how, then said heck with it and put it in the kitchen oven… still took another 2 hours… like you, we had the main course for dessert… ;)

        I think the trick is to just get an early start to give yourself the best chance of getting the thing done by the time you want it…

        Matt J
        Eugene, Oregon

  3. says

    I order a heritage bird when they’re available. That makes three years total for me (counting this year), but it’s a start.

    I do brine my birds. It’s a pain, but it’s nice. However, I think it cuts down cooking time. The last three turkeys I’ve cooked have all been brined and have all been done in about half the time. I couldn’t figure it out until a few people said brining cuts time, and one friend in particular said, “by about half”.

    I have never trussed a turkey, and this isn’t the year I’m going to start.

    Finally, I have no idea how many people are coming. Every year I put out the word that anyone can come to my place if they don’t have someplace else to be. So far, this has only resulted in a few attendees, but someday it will be an unexpectedly big event. I doubt this year will be the year. Hope not, anyway, as I only ordered a 10 lb turkey…

  4. MrsWJAA says

    Turkey has never been a huge favorite of mine, perhaps because all I’ve ever had was butterball or the like…
    Methinks I may want to check into butchering prices locally and raise a heratage turkey poult or two next year..

    I’ve never heard of ‘brining’ I MUST check this out:)

  5. says

    I’ve been experimenting this year because I suddenly have so many turkeys that am feeding. So far we cooked a heritage old tom, a heritage young ton and a broad breasted. The heritage ones are amazing BUT they come out way better I found when cooked on a low temp for longer. They have way more fat throughout the bird and are tougher because they are nearly twice as old as the BB ones. Roasting at a low temp is akin to stewing an older bird. Smoking at a low temp is also ideal. Man oh man the flavor though!! I’m looking forward to a fourth turkey in a few weeks. Hope your holiday is a great one and your eye is doing better! xo!

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