Turkey Talk with Wilson Farm

The holiday season is here and entertaining aint easy. So Patch is looking around Lexington for tips to help make your holidays a little easier, more exciting and extra tasty. Check out Wilson Farm’s standard turkey tips, plus a cider brine.

Wilson Farm’s Standard Turkey Cooking Tips

Follow these simple steps for a moist and flavorful turkey.

Cut up one onion, one carrot,and two stalks of celery and place on the bottom of the roasting pan. Add a few sprigs of thyme and parsley.

Place turkey in roasting pan breast side up and season with salt and pepper. Add 2 inches of water to the pan and tent with foil.

Roast for 15 minutes per pound. Test with a meat thermometer (should read about 160-165°F when the turkey is done).

You should begin checking the bird one hour before the end of your roasting time. Our turkeys often cook faster than expected due to their freshness. Use the remaining liquid in the pan for gravy or stuffing.

Wilson Farm’s New Recommendation for Extra Flavor

Looking for a little extra flavor, follow this recipe for an added dimension.

Cider Brined Turkey with Caramelized Onion Gravy (for a 14-16 lb. turkey)


1 qt. apple cider

1 cup salt

1 cup maple syrup

For Turkey

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 stalks celery

3 cloves garlic

handful thyme, parsley, and sage sprigs

2 bay leaves

For Gravy 

⅓ cup all purpose flour

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup oil

Preheat oven to 400ºF

Whisk together the brining ingredients. Pour into a container (bucket, cooler, bag) large enough to hold turkey and liquid. Add turkey and enough water to just cover the turkey. Refrigerate turkey and allow to brine for 12-24 hours. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry before cooking. 

Place onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, parsley, sage, and bay leaves in the bottom of a roasting pan along with a quart of water. Place turkey on top and brush with oil, cover with foil.  Roast for 30 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees.  Roast another 2 hours, basting every ½ hour.  Remove foil and cook until a thermometer registers 160-165 degrees, about 30-40 minutes.

When turkey is ready, remove from pan and keep warm. Strain liquid from pan and discard vegetables.  Separate fat from liquid.  Reserve 1/3 cup fat, discard the rest.  Place roasting pan on stove at low heat.  Add reserved fat and scrape the bottom of pan.  Add sliced onion and cook until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes (if you prefer, brown the onions ahead in a sauté pan).  Add flour and cook until the “roux” browns slightly, about 4-5 minutes.  Slowly whisk in reserved cooking liquid.  Cook until thickened. And yes, lumps are alright. 

Additional Hints and Tips

During brining you can use 100 percent pomegranate juice instead of the cider and water mixture for a different flavor. If you enjoy the flavor of apples, feel free to use 100 percent apple cider instead of a water and cider mixture.  

Don’t feel limited by the spices and flavorings listed above. Alternatives include poultry seasoning, clove, allspice, ginger, and more.

Holly Pearson November 13, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Last time I knew, Patrick Ball was asked to leave the Wilson Farm property because he was asking questions about cruel treatment of three thousand plus laying hens there kept in battery cages. What's the update?
Patrick Ball (Editor) November 14, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Hi Holly, Thanks for reading and following. Here's the best update I can give you: Since this spring, I have heard from several sources that the hens were shipped off the farm in the summertime, as they are every year, and this year's flock are kept in different conditions. Also, I believe you are mischaracterizing the situation a little bit by adding what I assume to be your own opinions about battery cages. As the local editor of Lexington Patch, you won't see me editorializing about any local topics, and this one is no exception. Feel free to contact me directly if you'd like to discuss more, or I'd encourage you to contact Wilson Farm for more information. Thanks and best, Patrick


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