Perfect Roast Turkey – Every Time
Perfect roast turkey every time, that is the ideal. How do you get moist turkey and crisp skin? Methods can be confusing and contradicting. Brine or no brine? Should you cover the turkey or use cheesecloth to keep it moist? Here are some tips from my years of experience to make your turkey the star of the show.
First, is it neccessary to purchase a fresh turkey? When turkeys are frozen, they are usually injected with a sodium solution to keep them plump and increase their weight. These solutions affect the flavor of the turkey. I prefer to buy fresh with no added solution, for the perfect roast turkey. When you order your turkey, figure 1.5 pounds per serving for whole turkeys. That should give you plenty of dark meat. I usually order my fresh turkeys from Fraizer farms at least two weeks ahead. The turkeys are local and the giblets are always good looking you know these birds are healthy.
I prefer to use a wet brine for to get the perfect roast turkey . This does take some planning. Find a container that will hold the turkey and allow for the brine to cover the bird completely. There are two brines which I really like. It doesn’t add too much flavor, it just makes the meat very moist. It has only three ingredients. Lots of buttermilk (1 gallon ) and 1/2 cup kosher salt with 1/4 cup paprika. I just mix the brine and pour it over the bird. Then I add enough water to totally cover the bird. Place a lid or cover the container with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 12 hours. There is no need to rotate the bird in the brine, as long as it is totally submerged.
Regardless of the brining method used rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out after bringing. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and allow to air-dry overnight (8-12 hours) in the refrigerator. This helps promote crispy skin during cooking.
Remove your turkey minutes before you start roasting to bring it to room temp.
I love the skin, so I really take good care of it during the roasting process. I butter underneath the bird with a compound butter of sage, thyme and parsley. Then I rub the outside with that butter mixed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. If you aren’t stuffing the bird with bread stuffing, add a peeled yellow onion, carrots and celery to the inside cavity. Tie up the legs. Place on a roasting pan with an elevated rack at 325 in the lowest rack of the oven. Adding 1/2 cup of water to the pan is also helpful.
Have a tent of foil ready to cover the bird when it reaches the desired color. Do not fully the cover the bird, this will cause steaming and your skin will not be crisp.
The internal temp of your at the thickest part of the thigh should read 165. The wings should easily move when the bird is done. For a 14 pound turkey, this should take about 4 hours. If it is stuffed with a bread stuffing, you need to add a half hour and and bread stuffing should reach 165 degrees in order to be safe.
After you remove the bird from the oven, be sure to let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing.
Do you own a fat separator for stock? If not, you might want to get an 4 cup on Amazon. You will need it for the broth for the gravy. Here’s link for you.
You will also want a large roasting pan. Disposables are fine, but get ones with carrier supports. Add a rack to hold the turkey up out of the bottom of the pan for even browning.
You will need a good meat thermometer. I have this one for roasts and turkeys. You can leave it in the bird and not open the oven to check the temp. It has an alarm to let you know when the turkey is ready.
That should be everything you will need to make the perfect roast turkey, every time. Good luck and enjoy your holiday!