Paper Bagging It: A Seriously Foolproof Turkey Recipe

by Heather Summerville (Brooklyn)

Friendsgiving is a cherished tradition around my apartment. For those not familiar with the celebration, it’s the equivalent of a Thanksgiving feast spent with friends (instead of with your cranky Uncle Jack). We held our annual stuff-yourself-till-you-pass-out dinner last weekend, wherein my boyfriend and I cooked a 15-pound turkey—oh yeah, in a paper Whole Foods bag. And get this: We didn’t burn down the kitchen.

Full disclosure: I’m not much of a cook. I make a mean salad and can toast a piece of bread like nobody’s business, but let me anywhere near an open flame and bad things tend to happen. So the thought of even attempting to cook something as daunting as a turkey stressed me out for weeks beforehand—and even prompted me to buy a fire extinguisher, you know, just in case. My friend Madeleine saved the day, however, with this insanely easy, foolproof turkey recipe. She and her boyfriend came over to supervise my boyfriend and me as we prepared the bird—and truth be told, even though I really didn’t have to do too much, I could have cooked this turkey on my own—and so can you!

What you need:

4 oranges

4 lemons

3 heads of garlic

2 sticks of butter

2 cups olive oil 

Fresh thyme and rosemary


2 paper bags

What to do:

1. Slice your citrus into quarters.

2. Clean and peel your garlic.

3. Melt both sticks of butter and mix in olive oil.

4. Chop half your thyme and rosemary and add to your butter/olive oil.

5. Be sure to remove the neck and innards from your turkey.

6. Generously coat turkey skin inside and out with your butter/olive oil/herb mix.

7. Stuff the sliced citrus, garlic and remaining fresh herbs inside your turkey.

8. Double up your paper bags and place turkey inside.

9. Fold the open end of your bag under the turkey and place in a roasting pan.

10. Cook at 350°F for 15 minutes per pound.

11. Before removing your delicious turkey from the bag, check doneness by sticking a meat thermometer through the bag or opening the end and slicing into the turkey.

Plus, a bonus photo of the only one who stayed awake post-dinner, my puppy Hankerchief, in a turkey-feather necklace made by a crafty friend.

All photos by Ryan Hefner.