This year I wanted to challenge myself, so I volunteered to make two turkeys for our big Friends giving feast. I was so nervous because I had helped my mom make turkey in the past, but had never tried to conquer it on my own. I am happy to say that after calling several people, reading way to many articles and watching my fair share of youtube videos I made an AMAZING turkey! The skin was crisp and flavorful, while the meat was juicy and moist! I had several of my friends tell me that they had never liked turkey until they tried mine! I stuffed the cavity of the turkey with onions, lemons, carrots, lemongrass, celery and lathered it with herb butter!
This herb butter is what made the whole turkey! I definitely want to make this spread again to use with garlic bread. I combined 1- 1/2 sticks of butter with fresh parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme together and blended in the food processor for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
My tin did not have a rack, so to avoid a soggy bottom of the turkey, I used the carrots and celery to make a rack. I also stuffed a few inside the cavity of the turkey for extra flavor! Once the turkey is stuffed, it's time to apply the herb butter. Pick up the skin and rub the butter generously between the skin and the breast. This will make the actually turkey meat flavorful, not just the turkey skin. With the remaining butter later the top of the turkey and inside the cavity. Apply salt generously, due to the lack of brining.
Something I had never thought of prior to making my own turkey was the time it takes to thaw. My turkey was 12.5 pounds and i let it thaw for 3.5 days, and it was still partially frozen when I went to roast it. I set both of my turkeys in a water bath for 3 hours to allow them to fully defrost to get an more even cook time. There are still ways to make the turkey if you forget to defrost, it will just take a lot longer to cook.
Once the turkey fully defrosts, it is time to do the dirty work. There is a bag of gizzards in the turkey that you should remove before cooking as well as the turkey neck. Some people save the giblets and use them for other meals, but I personally opt to throw them away. The bag is typically found within the cavity of the turkey and the second is found in the neck. Once the giblets have been removed, wash the skin of the turkey with water and pat it dry. This is when the fun begins!
I stuffed the cavity with onion, celery, carrots, lemon and lemongrass. I also used the carrots and celery as a rack for the turkey to keep the bottom from getting soggy. Stuffing the cavity with vegetables adds some awesome flavorful and moisture to the meat! I poured around 2 cups of chicken broth in the skin to make a broth out of the juices. This part is optional but it makes amazing broth! I strained all the turkey juices and froze them in a ice cube tray to use in soup in the future.
Cooking the bird was the hardest part for me, but I figured out the time to make a perfect turkey! I did not have string to tie the wings and the legs back, but i wish I would have! The wings and legs are the first to cook and can become tuff, but by tying them back they stay moist! I set my oven to 450 degrees and roasted the bird for 30 minutes undiscovered. By doing this you will get a nice crispy skin! After 30 minutes I changed the oven temperature to 350 degrees and roasted the turkey for 2 hours and 45 minutes. My turkey was 12 pounds, add an extra 15 minutes for each pound. When I put the turkey back in the oven I made a "turkey hat" that I used to cover just the breast to prevent dryness. I folded the tinfoil into a triangle shape and placed it over the breast.
After the 2 hours and 45 minutes test your turkey with a meat thermometer! It is the most accurate way to tell if the bird is fully cooked and safe for consumption. The most accurate test is by sticking the thermometer under the wing into the thickest part of the breast. If the turkey's temperate is 165 degrees then it's done!
Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes to one hour for a perfectly juicy bird. Enjoy!
Herb Butter Roasted Turkey
*Recipe is for a 12-14 pound turkey. Adjust cooking time for larger birds*
To prepare turkey:
Bringing healthy, flavorful & fresh meals to your table!