Okay guys, I have to admit something. I’m not the best cook. I mean, I make a mean omelette, and can rock some macaroni and cheese. I can also crockpot pretty well. But when it comes to the fancy stuff like Thanksgiving, I hand the reigns over to my wife. She’s graciously here to teach you how to roast the PERFECT turkey for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time it suits you.
Hi everyone, Beth Sroka here. Does cooking a turkey intimidate you? Don’t let it! It’s honestly really easy, and if you follow a few tricks I’ve learned, you can have the best turkey of your life (sorry, Mom!). There are 3 major things you have to do if you want a perfect turkey:
- Give your turkey a butter massage. Sounds gross, but this ensures lots of flavor and crispy skin.
- Cook your turkey upside for the first hour and a half. Gravity, my friends. If you cook your turkey breast-side up the entire time, it’s exposed to more heat and will dry out. Instead, start your turkey upside down, and let all the juices drip down into the white meat that tends to get overcooked and dry. Halfway through, flip your bird and let the skin get crispy and perfect.
- Let your turkey rest once it’s out of the oven. Not only does this allow you to get the rest of your side dishes ready, it allows all the juice to redistribute. If you carve your turkey immediately, the juice will be all over your cutting board, and not in your turkey. Trust me, this makes for a terrible meal.
You can flavor the butter any way you want — you can chop up some herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme would be good), use roasted garlic like we did, or get fancy with truffles. I used this recipe to make my roasted garlic. When coating your turkey, make sure to get some butter under the skin of the breast — this will definitely make your turkey more delicious. Coat it well, stuff the cavity with aromatics (ie, onions, fruit, veggies, etc., that add a bit of flavor and scent as your turkey cooks), roast it, flip it, let it rest on the counter and carve. Foolproof! If your turkey is larger than 10-11 pounds, it will need to cook longer than 3-3.5 hours. Be sure to check the instructions on your turkey (or do a quick internet search) to see approximately how long your turkey will take.
Roasted Garlic Turkey
|Prep time||30 minutes|
|Cook time||4 hours|
|Total time||4 hours, 30 minutes|
|Meal type||Main Dish|
- 1 whole turkey (10-12 lbs, frozen. If larger or fresh, adjust cooking times as needed)
- 3 heads of garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup butter, unsalted (one stick)
- salt & pepper
|Thaw turkey 3-4 days in advance, depending on size. A few hours before cooking, remove from refrigerator and let come to room temperature.|
|Remove butter from refrigerator and let soften. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and follow these instructions to roast two heads of garlic: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roasted_garlic/|
|Add the roasted garlic to the softened butter, and add the zest of your lemon. Mix well, set aside.|
|Turn oven down to 375 degrees. Pat your turkey dry and set it in your roasting pan (preferably on a rack). Pat completely dry with paper towels, inside and out. (Be sure the neck and giblets have been removed and set aside, if desired, to make turkey stock).|
|Slice lemon in half, onion in quarters, and remaining garlic head in half. Place in turkey cavity. Liberally coat the bird with the butter mixture. To ensure an even juicier turkey, place butter underneath the skin of the turkey and directly on the breast meat.|
|Place buttered bird upside down (breast side down) to begin cooking. Cook for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325 degrees.|
|After an hour (1.5 hours total cooking time), flip your bird upside down (breast side up), and cook for another 1.5 hours. Use a thermometer to check if turkey is done -- you're looking for 165 degrees at the meatiest part of where the breast and thigh meet.|
|Remove turkey from oven, cover with foil, and let sit for 20-30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes tightly covered before carving.|