Updated: Jul 18, 2020
After teaching this technique to so many people, I am now sharing it with you all. This is my version of a roasted turkey. I will forewarn, it's very different to what every recipe out there tells you to do. Follow mine and you will have a super juicy and flavorful turkey...and far less stress.
Turkey (size won't affect my technique, just the amount of time you roast it for)
1/2 cup - 1 cup Dry Brine (I love Williams Sonoma Classic Dry Brine)
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (room temp/softened)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon Herbes De Provence or your favorite sultry seasoning mix
1 large onion, preferably white
Roasting pan with grate
cooking sheet (half sheet)
2 DAYS BEFORE
1. Remove turkey from packaging. Remove the little plastic pop-up if present (usually on breast)
2. Remove everything from the cavity (neck, liver, heart)
3. Place turkey on cookie sheet (you can also use a large platter). Rub dry brine ALL OVER turkey, including inside the cavity.
4. Place turkey/cookie sheet in refrigerator UNCOVERED over night.
1 DAY BEFORE
1. Remove brined turkey from fridge and rinse in sink. If some herbs from brine are still visible, don't worry.
2. Pat turkey dry with paper towel.
3. Rinse cookie sheet and place dry turkey back on sheet and back in refrigerator overnight. If you don't have time and want to make the turkey ahead, leave it in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours
Reason: The skin needs to be dry so that it crisps up in the oven.
1. Adjust racks in oven to fit turkey. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix butter, herbs, salt and pepper.
3. Remove turkey from refrigerator and let it sit for 20 minutes. This will let the skin come to temp and loosen up a bit.
4. Using your hands, create a space between the skin and flesh. The best way to do this is to gently insert your hands flat under the skin starting closest to the cavity and tearing the connective tissue under the skin. Work slowly towards the front of the bird.
5. Once you have done this to as much of the turkey as you can (breast, thighs and if possible part of the legs), take some butter mix and insert it bit by bit in between the skin and flesh. Try to cover as much of the flesh under the skin as possible. This part is messy, remove rings from fingers.
6. With whatever butter mix is left, rub the surface of the turkey...everywhere.
7. Cut your onion in quarters and your lemon in half. Insert pieces into cavity.
8. Using butcher twine, tie the legs together to keep the cavity closed.
9. Roast turkey for 30 minutes at 450 and then lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.
10. Baste turkey every 45 minutes.
11.Roast turkey low and slow until your meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. To do this, insert thermometer into the thigh of the bird AND the breast. If the breast is cooking faster than the thighs, cover top of turkey with foil. Remove foil for last 30 minutes of roasting to make sure the breast skin is nice and golden brown.
12. Once turkey is done, remover from oven and let it rest for at least 20-30 minutes. Cover with foil so moisture doesn't evaporate.
I usually make my turkey the day before I am serving it. Once it has completely cooled (s0metimes I even put the cooked bird in the refrigerator overnight), I break up the bird removing the breasts, legs, thighs and wings.
To serve, follow these steps:
1. Place cut pieces of turkey on the rack of the roasting pan (with drippings or turkey broth on the bottom of the roasting pan).
2. Heat oven to 300-325 degrees
3. Tightly cover the roasting pan with two sheets of aluminum foil.
4.Heat turkey for 30 minutes. The liquid in the pan with start to evaporate and infuse your cut turkey with flavor and most importantly...moisture.
5. Remove from oven and cut breasts/ and turkey parts into serving portions and then arrange on platter.
6. Feel free to use remaining drippings or broth to add to your gravy pot.