Tag Archives: Brown Bag

Secret Family Turkey Recipe

 Brown Bag Turkey Header

Thanksgiving is here again which means it’s time to once again prepare our turkey with our secret family recipe. Does juicy, tender turkey falling off the bone sound good? Of course it does! There’s nothing worse than choking down dry, bland turkey. My grandmother actually is the one who got this recipe from a chef from the Waldorf Historia in New York and the secret is not so much the recipe itself, but actually the way the turkey gets cooked. Our family has been making turkey’s like this every year for the last 80 years! Paul, can I get a drum roll please? The secret is…………..

a brown paper grocery bag!

Yes, really. I know, you think I’m crazy, but we’ve already established that long ago. This recipe is really quite simple and the paper bag actually roasts the turkey making it golden brown and extremely juicy. You pop that bad boy in the oven and don’t touch it until it’s ready to eat! Seems too good to be true but it’s not. Let’s get into it.

Inside Bird Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 2 parsnips or carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 large red apple
  • Fresh rosemary, sage and thyme

Seasoning/Cooking Ingredients:

  • Butter flavored Shortening
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Brown Paper Bag
  • Roasting Pan (I prefer disposable)


Preheat oven to 350° degrees.

Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey, rinse inside and out and pat dry. Cut the apple, celery, onion, garlic, herbs and carrot or parsnip into large pieces and stuff into the bird cavity. (This is just for flavoring and will be thrown away after cooking.)

I usually put on a pair of gloves for this part. Rub down the entire turkey with butter flavored shortening while whispering sweet nothings. I’m just kidding about that second part, sort of. Also rub down the entire inside of a brown paper grocery bag as well, then set the bag aside. Sprinkle the entire turkey with poultry seasoning, then slide the turkey into the bag breast up. (If your turkey is very big, you may need a bag at both ends.) Now place the bag in a large roasting pan, close and tuck the end of the bag under the turkey. I then place the roasting pan on a cookie sheet that has sides. This is just to provide extra support when moving the turkey to and from the oven.

Place turkey in the oven making sure the turkey sits in the middle of your oven so it cooks evenly and does not touch any cooking elements. (don’t worry the oven is not hot enough to burn the bag.) Cook the turkey at 350° degrees for 15 minutes per pound.

Brown Bag Turkey

Do not open the bag at all during the cooking time, there is no basting needed with this method.  I mean it, no peeking! This cooking method will produce A LOT of juices. Your roasting pan will overflow if you don’t check on it, so peek in on it every so often and suck out some of the juice into a large pot with a turkey baster and use all that wonderful juice for your gravy. Don’t remove too much liquid though, the turkey needs it for the cooking process.

When your timer goes off, pull out the turkey insert a meat thermometer, the temperature should read 165-170 degrees. Let the turkey sit for 20 minutes. When done, pierce the bag near the bottom to allow any extra juices to flow out then, the big reveal…. tear open the bag and listen to the oooh’s and aaah’s! The turkey is so tender it will practically fall off the bone. Once you make your turkey this way, you may never cook it your old way again.

Don’t forget those juices! Take some turkey meat chunks and shred them up into the drippings and add cornstarch and simmer until thickened. Keep adding a little cornstarch at a time until desired thickness.

Oh, Paul is ready to serve it up, gotta go – Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Paul Carving