How to Roast a Turkey
The first step in roasting the perfect turkey is the quality of the turkey you buy. Check with your local butcher to see if heritage turkeys are available. If not, a grocery store bird will do, but we think brining is an essential step in creating a moist bird. Turkey dries out easily and can be bland, so brining for 24-30 hours will ensure a moist flavorful bird to be the centerpiece of your table.
Perfectly Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey
A perfectly roasted turkey isn't difficult to achieve, it just takes some time. I highly recommend brining your turkey. Turkey tends to be dry and not always flavorful; brining can change that.
It is best to brine a fresh turkey because commercially frozen turkeys are often injected with a sodium solution. However, frozen turkeys are more readily available, so thaw your frozen turkey, then soak in cold water for 20 minutes before brining.
1 1/2 cups kosher salt (we like Diamond brand)
2 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
5 Bay leaves
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or other herbs that you have like thyme or parsley)
3 orange peels (save the pulp for cranberry sauce)
3 Tbl each of peppercorns, anise/fennel seed, coriander seed. (get creative and throw in other spices that you like. I often add sumac, cumin and juniper)
2 gallons cold water
1/2 cup Rosemary Olive Oil
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar (substitute honey or maple syrup)
1/4 cup turkey or chicken broth
1 cup Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl Rosemary Olive Oil
2 Tbl fresh orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a large pot large
Bring to a boil stirring regularly until salt and sugar are dissolved
Place turkey in a bucket or large pot and pour brine over to completely submerge the turkey
Refrigerate for 24-30 hours
Remove turkey from brine (discard brine) and place it in a large pot of cold water (helps to remove excess salt)
Remove turkey and pat dry inside and out. Now it is ready for a flavorful prep
Rub entire turkey with Rosemary Olive Oil inside the cavity, under the skin and on the skin.
Mix 1/4 cup Balsamic with 1/4 cup Chicken or turkey broth and rub on the skin to create a nice glaze.
If you are stuffing the bird, stuff it loosely, allowing about ½ to ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey.
After rubbing the turkey with Rosemary Olive Oil, tie drumsticks together with string (for stuffed birds only).
Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body, and should not touch the bone.
Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven. Use the following chart to estimate the time required for baking.
Bake until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but helps promote even browning.
The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (75 degrees C) at the thigh
10-18 lb turkey: 3-3.5 hours unstuffed; 3.75-4.5 hours stuffed
19-22 lb turkey: 3.5-4 hours unstuffed; 4.5-5 hours stuffed
23-24 lb turkey: 4-4.5 hours unstuffed; 5-5.5 stuffed
25-29 lb turkey: 4.5-5 hours unstuffed; 5.5-6.25 hours stuffed
Combine oil, balsamic and orange juice in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly until combined and reduced to light syrup consistency.
This is a great alternative to gravy (or an additional to!)