Mustard-Crusted Turkey: Virtual Progressive Thanksgiving Dinner

We are talking turkey today of the mustard-crusted variety. It may not be as traditional as your favorite roasted one, but it’s juicy and delicious, and it fits in with all the traditional Thanksgiving fare perfectly, livening up your table and giving those relatives something to talk about.

One of my favorite movies of all time is Jodie Foster’s Home for the Holidays. Maybe it’s the dysfunction that it portrays that makes me feel at home. (Snicker) Still, it’s the feeling of coming together for the holidays that gets me and makes me feel nostalgic and keeps me coming back for more.

Our family holiday schedule can get to be hectic, with us fitting in at least three Thanksgivings between Ole’s family and mine. Luckily for us, this year one of them isn’t on Thanksgiving Day itself, but it’s the weekend after in brunch form, which means French toast bakes and coffee and everything else that comes with a good breakfast meal.

Still, though, driving nearly two hours between two Thanksgiving meals may seem a bit crazy to some of you (and you haven’t even heard our Christmas schedule), but to us it’s worth it. We get to spend time with family members that we sometimes haven’t seen for months, catching up on their lives, letting them know we’re all still thinking about each other and caring for each other even when the busyness of life seems to distract us from the things that really matter, and so we go and squish and try to fit it all in. Twice the hugs and cheek kisses, twice the cousins and aunts and uncles and two giant Thanksgiving meals.

With the Thanksgiving focus being all about community and connecting with friends and family, it makes sense that here on Food for My Family I celebrate that same community here in the online world. Today is the start of the Virtual Progressive Thanksgiving Dinner. We’re starting with turkey and stuffing, and we’ll make our way through apples and cranberries from Eat at Home, carrots and mashed potatoes from Real Mom Kitchen, cranberry salad from Unsophisticook and pumpkin gingerbread trifle over at Hoosier Homemade, who was wonderful enough to set up this dinner.

First, you should know that I don’t stuff my birds. There are several reasons for that, ranging from it takes longer to roast the turkey, the stuffing doesn’t reach the right temperature to kill all the salmonella that it can get from coming in contact with raw meat, and it’s soggy and slimy. Aimee has these reasons and more detailed in her post today where she shares her bread stuffing with seasonal fruits and herbs on Simple Bites.

This turkey is going to start with a rinse and a salt before we start on anything else. Then I’ll let it sit and come up to room temperature as I prepare the mustard coating: coarse ground Dijon with plenty of seeds, along with thyme, sage, pepper and garlic.

Once my turkey is ready, it’s time to spread it on. [Note: We were cooking a full, in tact breast with cavity for this because (1) it saves money and (2) we have already roasted two turkeys since September and (3) SALE!]

You can do this with your fingers (gloved if you’re Ole), a butter knife or with a spatula.

No need for perfection here, but try to get it on evenly and covering as much as possible. This will help the bread crumbs to stick more easily.

Now it’s time to press on the panko bread crumbs. I find this is done most effectively by taking a small handful and then pressing it up against the side of the turkey as I go around, working from the bottom to top.

To help the panko brown, we’re going to drizzle with olive oil. Misting with olive oil will make this step easier and provide a more even coverage, so if you have a misting bottle, mist away. Ours was destroyed at the hands of a very curious two-year-old with a penchant for anything that sprays. Your turkey then gets tented with foil and sent to the oven for less time than you probably think.

You’ll want to remove the foil after the first 45 minutes to an hour of cooking time to allow those bread crumbs to brown. The kids, the husband and my parents and siblings all approved of our mustard-crusted bird. We loved how juicy it was, and the added crunch and flavor was a nice change from the roasted variety. Plus, when you’re going to multiple meals, it’s fun to have them serve up different turkeys so you can enjoy and appreciate more than one way to cook the bird.

Looking for a traditional roasted Thanksgiving turkey? I’ll show you how to roast a turkey in 5 easy steps.

8- to 12-pound turkey
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 cup coarse ground Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup olive oil

Rinse the turkey in cold water and pat dry. Salt turkey all over the skin, and be sure to toss a bit into the cavity. Set the turkey in the roasting pan and allow to come up to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350° F, and start preparing the seasonings for your bird. In a small bowl combine Dijon mustard, garlic, minced thyme and sage and the cracked black pepper. Stir until well mixed. Spread the mustard mixture over the turkey as evenly as possible, but don’t worry if there are inconsistencies. Next, Press the panko bread crumbs all over the turkey in an even layer. Drizzle the entire bird with olive oil. If you have an oil mister, this is the perfect use. Misting will give you a nice, even coating over the bread crumbs to aid in browning. Tent a piece of foil over the turkey and place in the oven. Tent the turkey the first 30-45 minutes, and then remove the foil from the turkey to allow the bread crumbs to brown. Bake for 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on size of the turkey (see below for time guidelines).

When the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 170° F and the bread crumbs have turned a golden brown, remove the turkey from the oven. Tent with reserved foil and allow to sit for 30 minutes before slicing.

Turkey Roasting Times:

  • 8- to 10-pound turkey: 1 hour and 45 minutes – 2 hours
  • 10- to 12-pound turkey: 2 hours – 2 hours and 30 minutes

Makes 1 turkey to serve 6-10 people.

Copyright © Food for My Family.

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  1. Mmmm that looks delicious. I love turkey year round, not just on Thanksgiving. Turkey is traditional for Christmas in the UK, and with two Brits in my house this Christmas, I’m in great need of multiple turkey recipes.

  2. That looks so delicious. I love the addition of panko crumbs. I’m going to have to try this.

  3. Wow, impressive indeed! I love all of these flavors, and the addition of fresh thyme would perfectly complement my herb stuffing.

  4. I don’t care that much about the traditional roasted turkey, honestly. I think this sounds way good! I want some!

  5. Oh wow! I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving! This turkey looks amazing!
    Thanks so much for kicking off the Progressive Dinner 🙂

  6. Love mustard and love the idea of a mustard encrusted turkey! yumm-o!

  7. My hubs would love this. He LOVES mustard!

  8. Love this idea. It looks so moist and crispy.

  9. Yum – I love this take on turkey. A mustard crust sounds just about perfect.

  10. Love the mustard crust. I think its great that travel on a holiday to celebrate family and food together!

  11. Oh my goodness, that mustard crust sounds delicious!

  12. I have no doubt that we would love this at our house. What a great looking turkey!

  13. What a great idea. I do this to my ham. Great series here.

    Here are all my thanksgiving recipes:

    I will be back to check out more.

  14. I have decided that I want this for breakfast now. Oh my word you have me drooling this morning love!

  15. If we have an 8lbs turkey should we bake it 30 min with tent and then an additional 1hr 45 minutes. Or should it be 30 min with tent and then 1hr 15 min without?

  16. I made a similar sauce-type concoction with whole-grain mustard, brown sugar and soy sauce and used it on chicken breasts. It too, was deee-lish.

    Long live mustard in any form!!


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