Well, celebrating Thanksgiving was quite the experience this year in Spain. It was our first time celebrating here and my biggest fear was that the gigantic turkey (ok, gigantic for turkeys here in Spain), weighing in at just over 12 pounds, was NOT going to fit in our itty bitty, compact European oven. But, not to worry. After a bit of feather plucking, turkey ‘surgery’, and some bone breaking (sorry, this post may not be for the light of heart), we got that baby to fit! 

So, after we confirmed that it was actually going to fit, the next question was…How do we cook this monster? When celebrating Thanksgiving back in Arizona, my dad was always in charge of the turkey. He was always up at 5am putting the turkey in the electric roaster, and all I focused on was how delicious it smelled when I woke up around 9am to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Oh, how things change! This year I was in charge and I had to really do some research. Thank goodness for Skype, I called my dad up and asked him what his normal protocol was for preparing his famous Thanksgiving turkey. I also did a little research of my own since I didn’t have the luxury of an electric roaster. 

With the compilation of information that I had, I was set to get the bird ready. Because the turkey was fresh (fresh meaning I ‘contracted’ the turkey in the main plaza of Logroño, Abastos, asked that it be ready for Wednesday, and judging by the freshness of the turkey that we got, I think they must have sacrificed it the very day before), we had some ‘plucking’ to do, as some of the feathers were still attached, but it was nothing a tweezers couldn’t fix!! And we were ready to get started.

plucking feathers from our thanksgiving turkey


turkey (that fits in your oven or roaster) :)

1 medium apple

2-3 carrots (peeled)

1 medium onion (peeled, but kept whole)

butter (1 stick cut into cubes)

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

lots of aluminum foil


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

dissecting the turkey

Get out the largest oven pan you have, cover it in foil, enough foil on each end to bring up over the sides of the turkey and completely close it. This is to ensure that you keep all the ‘goodness’ locked inside during roasting. Place the turkey on top of the foil on the pan. After taking out any loose pieces that may still be inside of the turkey, rub sea salt, pepper, and a little bit of melted butter around the inside of the carcass. Then stuff the inside of the turkey with the carrots, apple, and onion. On the outside of the turkey, rub salt and pepper into the skin as well as place small cubes of butter all around the turkey and in the crevices of the legs and wings. Pull the aluminum foil up over the top of the turkey and fold over to seal.

Place in the oven and roast for 2 hours at 325 degrees. (This is for a 10-12 lb turkey, if you have a larger turkey, add an extra 15 minutes per pound to the part of this part of the cooking process.) Then, remove the foil (I just cut around the pan and kept the foil in the bottom of the pan), baste with some of the yummy dripping from the bottom of the pan, turn the oven up to 425 degrees, and roast for another hour or until the temperature of the meat of the thigh registers at at least 165 degrees. This is when it gets nice and gold brown and crunchy around the edges! Yum!

crispy thanksgiving turkey

Take out and let bird rest for 15-30 minutes. Then carve. (Thanks Mom for the great carving skills! ;)) Our turkey was done about an hour before our company was arriving (and of course we have to remember that here we don’t eat dinner until at least 9:30 or 10pm), so I covered the turkey again with aluminum foil after it rested for 15 minutes to keep it nice and hot. We didn’t carve it until the company had arrived so it was piping hot, super juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!


Recipe adapted from: The knowledge and skills of my dad, Gary Robison, as well as TheFoodNetwork.com.

For the most delicious recipe on how to make gravy from the drippings of your very own turkey, click here!