Recipe Database
Old-Fashioned Roast Turkey with Gravy
Old-Fashioned Roast Turkey with Gravy
Serves: 12


You will need one 2-yard package of cheesecloth for this recipe. Because we
layer the bird with salt pork, we prefer to use a natural turkey here;
self-basting turkeys may become too salty. If using a self-basting turkey,
use all water in the gravy rather than a combination of water and broth.
Make sure to start the gravy (step 3) as soon as the turkey goes into the


1 package cheesecloth (see note)
4 cups cold water
1 turkey , 12 to 14-pounds (see note), neck and giblets reserved
1 pound salt pork , cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices


1 Tbl vegetable oil
Reserved turkey neck and giblets
1 onion , chopped
5 cups water
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or home made chicken stock)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
6 Tbls. all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper

ChefNote: This can be done on the Big Green Egg using indirect heat. The cooking times are dependant on the temperature and may not be exactly like the details below.

For the turkey: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cheesecloth from package and fold into 18-inch square. Place cheesecloth in large bowl and cover with water. Tuck wings behind back and arrange turkey, breast-up, on V-rack set inside roasting pan. Following photos 1 to 4 above, prick skin of breast and legs of turkey all over with fork, cover breast and legs of turkey with salt pork, top with soaked cheesecloth (pouring any remaining water into roasting pan), and cover cheesecloth completely with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Roast turkey until breast meat registers 140 º, 2½ to 3 hours. Remove foil, cheesecloth, and salt pork and discard. Increase oven temperature to 425º. Continue to roast until breast meat registers 165 degrees and thigh meat registers 175 º, 40 to 60 minutes longer. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest 30 minutes.

3. For the gravy: While turkey is roasting, heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook turkey neck and giblets until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in water, broth, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 hours. Strain stock into large measuring cup (you should have about 3½ cups), reserving giblets if desired.

4. Carefully strain contents of roasting pan into fat separator. Let liquid settle so that fat separates, then skim, reserving ¼ cup fat. Pour defatted pan juices into measuring cup with giblet stock to yield 4 cups stock.

5. Heat reserved fat in empty saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in flour and cook until honey colored and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in giblet stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Chop giblets and add to gravy, if desired, and season with salt and pepper. Carve turkey and serve with gravy.


These recipes were performed at the Mother-Ship. Big Green Egg Headquarters in Tucker, Georgia on 10/31/2009. Kevin Jenkins (Fats) on the microphone, Chef Fred Genovese at the prep table and Sous Chef Mike Stock with prep help provided by Bobby Lee Culver. Our thanks go out to the staff at Big Green Egg for the terrific venue and to our staff of producers Karen Jenkins and Linda Genovese for keeping the show together and keeping us on task.