Perfect Turkey Every Single Time
Read the entire recipe before starting and have your ingredients ready. This is so super easy, but I do tend to get very detailed with the directions.
Believe it or not, Trisha Yearwood uses this same method!
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- 12-15 lb
- whole turkey, completely thawed
- 2 stick
- butter or margarine, room temperature
- salt and pepper
- 2 large
- onions, sliced into thick circles or wedges
- 3 stalk(s)
- celery, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
- 2 large
- carrots, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
- 1 medium
- apple, cut into wedges
- 5-6 clove
- garlic (whole)
- 3-4 c
- chicken stock/broth, or water
1To Brine or Not To Brine - If you prefer to brine your turkey, do this the day before you plan to cook it.
Brining helps season and draw moisture into the meat to keep it flavorful and juicy. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 cup of table salt and 1/2 cup sugar for every gallon of water. I allow at least 8-12 hours but no more that 24 hours. Add onions or herbs to the water and put into a container or brining bag so that the turkey is completely submerged. It must be kept cold, either in the refrigerator, or an ice chest with lots of ice around the brining bag or container. When finished discard the brine.
If you don't want to brine the turkey then skip this step.
5Put the dry turkey onto a large platter and liberally spread the butter all over the surface of the turkey, around the wings and legs, and inside the cavity. This works best when the butter is room temperature and soft, but if you prefer to work with melted butter that's fine. It will start to get solid on the cold turkey. Put butter inside the cavity and under the skin of the breast and thighs, being careful not to tear the skin. Secure large flaps of excess skin and fat with toothpicks to close up the neck cavity. Also leave on the big the tail piece. Put any remaining butter into the roasting pan. You need a lot of butter to create the fat for making turkey gravy later.
If you like to inject your turkey, now is the time to do it. I don't.
6Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper into the cavity and all over the outside of the turkey. Take the remaining onions, celery, carrot, garlic and apple and put that inside the cavity. If you like the flavor of rosemary, thyme, or sage then add a little fresh pieces to the cavity. These are strong herbs so a little goes a long way.
8Put the oven rack on the lowest position inside your oven and put the turkey into a COLD oven. Close the door and set the temperature to 500 degrees. Once the oven has reached 500 degrees set your timer for 1 hour.
DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR! After 1 hour of baking turn the oven off and leave the door CLOSED. NO PEEKING! I do this right before going to be and in the morning the whole house will smell like roasted turkey and it will be completely cooked and juicy.
9*THIS IS THE TRICK TO A BEAUTIFUL BIRD:
Use heavy duty aluminum foil and double it. Use a piece long enough to tent the turkey over the top leaving an opening on both ends for the air to flow through. I just tuck the foil between the pan and rack to hold it in place and fix it so that the foil isn't actually touching the bird.
10This is optional, but in the morning if you want to, carefully drain the liquid from the cavity into the baking pan and turn the turkey over. Put it back in the oven on 500 degrees and cook for about 15 minutes to brown the breast. The turkey will remain somewhat warm in the oven but it can be reheated briefly without getting dried out.