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Paula Talks Turkey

Paula Talks Turkey

Southern Turkey Favorites

by Paula Deen

I just love all kinds of birds. Always have. I bought Ladybird, my macaw, back before I had my first restaurant. She’s seen me through my lowest and highest points and I can’t imagine my home without her squawkin’ away in the background. Today, I’ve probably got 25 pet birds. And I’ve got chickens in the coop and ducks in the pond. You see, I adore birds. They fascinate me—their beauty and the way they move and the beautiful sounds they can make. But turkeys, they get a bad rap. People say that they got the short end of the stick when it came to looks, but I couldn’t disagree more. I think their plump bodies and colorful feathers make them look downright regal. Plus, turkeys carry the weight of the world on their gobblers—they alone can make or break a Thanksgiving dinner.

Usually, they make it. But I’m always hearing about somebody running like a scared dog in a lightening storm just thinking about making a Thanksgiving turkey. Frankly, I can’t understand what all the fuss is about. I feel sorry for ‘em. You gotta get in there and make peace with that bird, y’all.

Growing up, I know that I was very fortunate. I had some very good teachers when it came to handling that beautiful bird. My grandmother and my Aunt Peggy taught me how to pull off a Thanksgiving turkey without a hitch, baking or frying up the most gorgeous, mouthwatering bird. But I realize that not everybody had the luxury of two skilled cooks showing ‘em the ropes. I’ve heard the horror stories—the girls who cooked the bag of giblets or forgot to cut the oven on and ended up with a raw turkey—but thank my lucky stars I’ve never experienced such things first hand. Maybe you haven’t been as lucky. Maybe each Thanksgiving you find yourself in line at the Chinese buffet, relieved that you dodged another bullet.

If this sounds like you, it’s time to put your fears to rest, y’all. Because let me tell you, there’s nothing more satisfying than presenting your family with a perfectly cooked turkey on Thanksgiving. And it isn’t as hard as you might think. To make everybody happy, I usually make two turkeys—one fried and one in the oven. Maybe it’s because I’m Southern, but nothing holds a candle to a fried turkey. Now, I hear people complaining all the time that they’re afraid they’ll set their house on fire while trying to fry a turkey, but a friend of mine, John McLemore, came up with a countertop fryer that he sells on QVC. You can use it right there inside the house and they’re so safe. And it takes all the guesswork out of fryin’.

Y’all, I’m here to help you serve up the best Thanksgiving you can imagine. All month I’ll be sharing tips for creating a feast fit for king (and your mother-in-law), including how-to guides to alleviate some of the holiday stress. For example, if you’re worried about massacring the bird in front of your guests, check out my step-by-step guide to carving a turkey. You’ll impress your friends and family and in return they won’t lose their appetites.

That’s right, I’m letting you in on all of my family secrets for a no-fail cooked and carved bird!

Paula’s Top Turkey Recipes:
Deep Fried Turkey
Roasted Turkey
Orange Apricot Turkey
Roasted Turkey with Maple Cranberry Glaze
Roasted Turkey with Fried Pecan-Bourbon Glaze
Braised Turkey Shanks
Rum Glazed Turkey
Stuffed Turkey Breast
Turducken

Don’t miss our Turkey Day How-To’s!
Giblet Gravy 101
How to Carve a Turkey
Six Decorative Pie Crust Techniques

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Reader Comments:

 

This is awesome - I think I’ll try the deep fried turkey this year, sounds delicious! I already know I’ll be making the chocolate pecan pie as one of my desserts, and the gooey pumpkin cake, it’s gonna be a “PD” thanksgiving at my house!

Tracey Lopez of Turlock, Ca on November 01, 2010 05:43 PM

Hey Paula,
I have such a small kitchen I don’t have the room to make such a big feast so we get our bird from Giant food store every year(so much easier)and then make whatever sides the family enjoys. How can I make the bird just a little differant? I still have to heat it up in the oven for a few hours. Any suggestions on flavoring the bird?

Kathi of Sparrows Point, MD on November 02, 2010 09:09 AM

Dear paula,
          Hi paula,I am hosting thanksgiving at my house this year,things are tight so i was wondering if you can tell me some side dishes i can make that look like they cost alot but didnt.I dont want to let my family down,but i dont want them to know how hard up we are. thank you paula

patricia magliochetti of Beacon Falls,Ct on November 02, 2010 09:33 AM

Hey Paula,
My mother-in-law showed me how to make a turkey and it comes out perfect every time!  We cook ours in a paper sack!  It browns beautifully and no basting required.  It is simply delicious and takes out the worry of wondering if you are going to have a great turkey for thanksgiving!  Wishing you the best Thanksgiving ever!
Donna

Donna of Lubbock, Texas on November 02, 2010 09:38 AM

I’m originally for NYC, and we usually bake our turkey for the holiday,I’ve never heard of a fried turkey until I came to Savannah. When I tasted one I loved it, but was afraid to try to fry one. This year my Daughter and I will get our nerves up and try to fry one ourselves. We are going by your instructions step by step. Wish us luck Paula.

Cynthia Rhetta of Savannah, GA on November 02, 2010 01:27 PM

My family is originally from Eastern North Carolina, so we have many family food traditions for the holiday.  But I have only had fried turkey once.  It was delicious.  Hearing about the table-top fryer is making me want to take a look and possibly have a fried turkey this year!

Michelle of Tulsa, OK on November 02, 2010 04:14 PM

Well I always get my turkey drunk with beer and have you ever put a light dusting of flour on your turkey? Rub with butter first. I learned that from my kids grandmother years ago I looked at her and she told me it makes it golden brown.And the beer keeps it moist and a pretty good gravy. So I will make the gooey pumpkin cake though. YUM

Cheryl Croft of Auburn,Ca on November 02, 2010 06:44 PM

I have always been a fan. I have all of your books and i love to cook, you cook the way i do. keep on gettin it paula, i love you.    judy

judy isbell of ica,sc on November 03, 2010 06:35 AM

Dear Paula, On Monday, Nov. 8, my husband’s Air Force Unit from late 1950’s is going to be eating at Lady and Son’s restaurant in Savannah.  We are having our reunion in Savannah and are looking forward to seeing the lovely Savannah.

Clara

Clara Martin of N.C. on November 03, 2010 04:46 PM

I bake my turkey in a big steel bowl, pour melted butter over it, salt and pepper, cover it firmly with aluminum foil, so no air escapes, this is the best ever, so not even open it for one minute tocheck it, six hours for a 22 pound turkey, i dislike a dry tasteless turkey, baking it in a huge steel bowl is assured the very best! lila m. parton, makah nation, beautiful washington state

lila m. parton of neah bay, washington on November 03, 2010 06:35 PM

Hey Paula,
We always have a big stuffed turkey. Although I too think the turkey is a beautiful bird alive that is. I have enjoyed The Lady and Sons cookbook. I look forward to trying some of your new recipes.  You are such a great inspriration Thats why I just love your collection, I’m working on getting me one of your Tea Kettles.

Mimi Kanoy of Asheboro North Carolina on November 03, 2010 06:59 PM

So…...........are you cooking the pet you are cuddling in that turkey picture.  I dont know, I have never been able to eat a friend…....

Trish Garner of Crossville, Tn on November 04, 2010 08:07 AM

Hi Paula,
I just wanted to tell you how much my husband and i love your show,My husband always asks me to make everything that he sees you make, let me tell ya, you are a hard woman to keep up with but i am trying my best to make him all the recipes he seems to think he would like (basically all of them..lol) I am looking for some new ideas for the thankgiving table would love some feed back .

Nicole Schotten of Plymouth, Illinois on November 07, 2010 04:29 PM

Paula!!!! I love you and your cookin skills smile I am tryin the Roasted Turkey with the Fried Pecan Bourbon glaze this year. It sounds to die for. I’m actually doin your Good Ol Country Stuffing as well LOL!!! I have been watching you for years and I just love all that I have learned from you! Thank you xoxoxox I Love You smile

~Holly Artis

Holly of Modesto, CA on November 09, 2010 11:35 PM

What have I been missing all these years!!  I just got hooked on Paula Deen about a year ago when my friend in Kansas gave me a subscription to your mag….opened up a whole new world to me! Every recipe I’ve tried has turned out great, I’ve never been disappointed.  I keep in touch with your ‘latest and greatest’ on the web and by your magazine.  I have so grown to love Paula Deen and her sons.  Ya dun good girl!!

Keep on keeping on!
Love ya,
Cheryl

Cheryl Whitney of Avondale, AZ on November 10, 2010 09:38 AM

LOVED IT !!! Everything in one spot. Ya Hoo !!!
Thanks

Weltha Payne of Clarksville, IN. on November 10, 2010 09:56 AM

Hey I need help.I’ve never cooked a turkey.Can someone give me step by step directins on how to cook a turkey.Thanks

Jessica Snyder of Longview,Tx on November 10, 2010 06:36 PM

Paula, I am a huge fan and so is my 7 year old daughter.  She loves to get in the kitchen and pretend that she is Paula Deen.  I hope she shares my love of cooking.  I just wanted to let you know that I love all your magazines and cookbooks. One question that I have for you is where did you get the silver measuring cup you use on your shows that Trisha Yearwood had a fit over.  I have looked for these in stores and cannot find.  Thanks Paula for all you do and may God continue to bless you and your family.

Jennifer Lewis of Chattanooga, TN on November 12, 2010 10:35 AM

Dear Miss Paula,
HI ! ... My LOVELY Wife and I are HUGH FANS of yours and it was my Wife’s idea to get in contact with you ! ... I work at the Universioty of Michigan but I do some acting and hosting etc. too ! ... as part of that venture I’ve come up with several comedy characters that would ( we think ) lend themselves perfectly to the world of fooder-tainment-HA ! ... soooo I’d LOVE to send you some pictures of me as some of my characters and talk to you about my ideas or if you have ANY advice for us PLEEEEEASE let us know ! ... THANKS - A - MILLION !!

MICHAEL B. ANCRILE of Jackson Michigan on November 12, 2010 01:17 PM

Hi Paula,

We are only two people, but I still want the meal to be special.  What can I serve that will feel like Thanksgiving, but not have all the work and huge leftovers that comes with the holiday?

Debra Hibma of Long Beach, CA on November 13, 2010 12:18 AM

will you please do a baked rice pudding on your show cause mines is always dry and i love it but is not successful in doing it thank you

clara eubanks of chville, virginia on November 14, 2010 01:39 PM

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Overall, my truthful greetings to you and all the finest.

Genuinely yours,

Josh

SalmaErax of Canada on January 06, 2012 12:32 PM

 

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