Turkey is a delicious Thanksgiving tradition, juicy, crispy and tender! My first turkey experience required me to pluck the turkey feathers, an experience I hope never to have again! I’ve brined turkey in herbs, apple cider and even bourbon. I’ve cooked organic, kosher and heritage turkeys. I’ve tried a dry brine but have never been brave enough to deep fry a turkey. I will leave that to the fearless.
From all my experiences, I think that a simple roast turkey is best. You need a meat thermometer, and a roasting pan large enough to hold your turkey. I use a roasting rack, but you don’t need one. The turkey needs to sit at room temperature at least 45 minutes before cooking. It needs to rest for at least 20-30 minutes after cooking, the temperature will rise another 10 degrees or so. Cooking times vary with the size of your bird and an unstuffed turkey will cook faster. Enjoy the holidays!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan or on a roasting rack, if using one. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, rosemary, lemon, onion, and the carrots. Scatter the remaining herbs and veggies around the outside of the bird. If you’re not using a roasting rack, place the turkey on top of the carrots and onions. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey. Add 1 to 2 cups of water to the pan.
Roast the turkey for 2-3 hours, longer if the bird is larger or it’s stuffed. Baste it from time to time with pan juices, until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Your meat thermometer should register 160 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. If the turkey isn’t brown enough, roast it at 400 hundred degree for the last 20 minutes. If it is too brown, cover it with a oiled cheese cloth or a foil tent. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with foil; let it rest for 20-30 minutes. Slice the turkey and serve.