Perfect turkey. This is how to cook the perfect turkey.. end of story. Perfectly flavored, perfectly moist and perfectly stuffed with golden crispy skin.
Check out this farro stuffing to go with your turkey.
This is the best way to roast a turkey, hands down. May be I am taking sides here as this is mostly my mom’s recipe with Alton Brown cooking instructions.
I’ve been making turkey this way for years now. I remember the first complement I got about this turkey from one of my husband’s coworkers saying the breast is usually tough, stringy and flavorless but mine is so tender bursting with so much flavors.
Why this recipe is different?
First, comes my mom’s delicious onion mixture stuffed in the turkey cavity, this bird is taken to a whole new level. Roughly chopped onion mixed with celery and turkey giblets then seasoned with a hefty teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. If you do not like using giblets, discard them and you will still have a tasty bird with incredible vegetable stuffing.
If you would like to kick this even further try roasting some pine nuts or blanched almonds and add them to the onion mixture after the bird is done. The nuts not only add flavor but a crunch factor as well. You can add the nuts to the mixture then stuff the cavity with the whole thing, but in this case the nuts would not be crunchy.
Dry brining the turkey:
Second, is the dry brining. I used to wet brine my turkey for many years, although it worked but it was always intimidating to find a container to hold the bird let alone storing it in the fridge or a cold place.
Dry brining has the same effect as wet brining by seasoning the meat and keep it juicy. I thought the sicence behind brining is the osmosis theory, turned out this is not true!! To understand more read this article from SeriousEats.
How do you get a golden brown turkey skin?
To avoid overcooking, hence dry, your turkey some methods start cooking the bird breast side down. I use Alton Brown method that has never failed me. It is simpler and produces a nice golden skin all over. A triangular tin foil piece is drizzled with some olive oil, molded over the breast then taken off. Place the turkey on high (500F) until the breast skin is golden then cover the breast with the tin foil and return the bird to now 350F oven.
How long do you cook a turkey in the oven?
Well, miy 10lb turkey took about 2.5 hours. But, there are a lot of variables here, like oven accuracy and the size of your turkey. It is better to use meat thermometer, a perfectly cooked turkey should register 165F breast or 175-180 at the thighs.
How do I roast a turkey in the oven?
- Wash the turkey perfectly and take out any giblets wash them as well. In this post I explain how my mom taught me to wash the birds.
- Prepare the salt rub by mixing all ingredients together.
- Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
- Sprinkle half salt mixture over the breast and rub all around.
- Turn turkey to the other side and rub with the remaining mixture.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 day.
- Turn the turkey to the other side cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for another day minus 8 hours.
- In the last 8 hours uncover the turkey and refrigerate.
- Take the turkey out and leave it in room temperature for an hour.
- In a bowl, mix the stuffing veggies and the cut up giblets if using.
- In another bowl, mix butter, olive oil, black pepper and parsley.
- Take a square piece and fold it in half to form a triangle. Brush one side with oil.
- Place your turkey on a v-rack and cover the breast with foil to form a mold with the foil. Take the foil out keeping its shape and set aside.
- Carefully push your fingers to separate skin in the breast area from front and back.
- Stuff 3/4 butter mixture under the skin then massage the skin from over to spread the butter evenly.
- Rub the remaining butter on the outside. and stuff the bird’s cavity with the onion mixture.
- Preheat oven to 500F adjusting the rack in the lower part of your oven.
- Place the turkey in the oven and bake until breast is golden brown, takes about 20-30 minutes.
- Take the bird out, lower heat to 350F then put the foil back on the breast.
- Place the turkey back in the oven and bake for about 2-2.5 hours more or until breast temperature reaches 165F. If you do not have a thermometer just cut or poke with w knife between leg and breast, if the juices run clear the turkey is done.
Here you have it, a centerpiece that is definitely a show stopper, bursting with butter with super crispy and perfectly browned skin. The flesh is juicy and moist with a delicious onion stuffing.
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- 1 10 lb Whole Turkey, natural not previously brined.*
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt.
- 1 teaspoon paprika.
- 1 teaspoon thyme or oregano.
- 1 teaspoon rosemary.
- 1 cup 2 sticks butter, room temperature.
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil divided.
- 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley.
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
- 1 large onion coarsely chopped.
- 2 celery ribs diced.
- 1/2-1 teaspoon black pepper.**
- 1 Tablespoon oilt.
- Optional: Cut the giblets into small pieces and add to the cavity.
Wash turkey thoroughly, Here is how I wash any bird.
Pat dry the bird all over and set aside.
Mix the brine ingredients together, sprinkle the turkey with the brine and rub well.
Place the turkey on a tray breast side down and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.
After 24 hours, turn the turkey to the other side so the breast side is up. Leave it in the brine for another day, uncover in in the last 8 hours but keep it in the fridge.
Take the turkey out before baking and leave it to come to room temperature for a couple of hours.
In a bowl combine chopped onion, celery, pepper, salt and diced giblets is using mix well.
In a small bowl, mix softened butter, oil, parsley and pepper.
Preheat oven to 500F adjusting the rack in the lower part of your oven.
Place turkey on the roasting pan.
Fold a square sheet of foil to form a triangle and rub with some oil from one side. Place that triangle over the turkey breast to shape it like the breast. Remove foil and set it aside keeping its shape.
Carefully, separate skin from the turkey breast using your fingers gently from front and back paying close attention not to tear the skin.
Stuff 3/4 butter mixture under the skin then massage the skin from over to spread the butter evenly
Stuff cavity with the onion stuffing, tie turkey legs with kitchen twin.
Rub the remaining butter on the outside.
Place turkey in oven and roast for 20-30 minutes.
Remove turkey from oven, reduce heat to 350F.
Cover the turkey with the foil that we prepares earlier.
Return to oven and let it cook for another 2 hours or until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast reads 165F. If you don't have a thermometer, poke between the leg and breast and if the juices run clear, your turkey is cooked.
Remove from oven and let it set for 30 minutes before carving.
* This recipe for an all natural turkey which has not been brined or injected by any solution before. For store bought turky like Butterball skip the brining.
** I like the onion stuffing a bit spicy so I put 1 teaspoon, go easy on black pepper if you do not like spicy food.
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