This is how I make turkey every year, or rather, every time I’ve made turkey in the past. This is my true and tested method for a deliciously moist bird without fail. No basting, no fussing. The only fussing I do, takes place a day or so before T-Day. Just long enough to allow the bird to swim about in the briney water, relaxing in all the spices and seasonings I chose for that ocassion.
Then on the day it is to be served, I just lay it breast-side down on a roasting pan, brush it with butter and olive oil and forget about it until it needs to come out of the oven. It is always successful and enjoyed by all. You should try it this way, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I’m not cooking this one until tomorrow (Thursday), but I wanted to give you a play by play in case you were searching for an easy way to prepare your bird. I will update the pictures as things evolve.
Turkey Brine (1-2 days before serving)
In a saucepan, combine:
6 tbsp sea salt
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp sage, powder
3 tbsp Herbs d’Provence
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 orange, quartered
3 cps water
Bring this to a boil for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool down.
The turkey I’m working with is a 20-pounder. Remove giblet bag and neck, reserve these to make broth and gravy. Rinse the turkey under cool running water. In an oversized storage bag or a bowl, add the cooled brine, place the turkey in and top it off with more water–about 1-1/2 gallons of cool water. Give the turkey a couple of turns in the bag to ensure the water and brine mix in. Seal the bag or cover the bowl with plastic wrap then foil paper.
Put the whole thing in the fridge overnight. Usually I start this process 1-1/2 days before I am roasting the bird and I flip the bird every 8-10 hours or so, if it’s not completely submerged in the brining liquid.
Remove turkey from the bag and drain any brining liquid that may be in the openings. Pat dry the turkey. Melt 1/2 cp butter (1 stick) with 1/4 cp extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic (peel and cut them in half). Brush this mixture (avoiding the garlic) over the breast side of the turkey. Put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes, then flip the bird so the thighs are on top and brush with the rest of the butter. Place it in the fridge for another 15 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 400°. Coarsely chop:
1/2 cp parsley
4 cloves garlic
and mix in:
1 tbsp sage
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tsp sea salt
Use 1/2 of this mixture to loosely stuff the large cavity of the bird and arrange the other 1/2 under and around the turkey. Put the bird in the oven for 20 minutes at 400°, then lower the temperature to 325° for the remainder of its cooking time.
Once the thermometer reads about 170° in the thickest part of the thigh, remove it from the oven and cover it loosely with foil. Allow it to rest covered for about 15 minutes. Remove the aromatics from the crevices before you begin carving it.
I feel a bit silly to have to say this. I totally forgot to take a shot of the bird as it came out of the oven. And boy do I hate that, because it was a BEAUTY. Perfectly cooked, super juicy and golden brown. Will you take my word for it? Here’s a shot of it after slicing.