Five steps to the perfect turkey
What you need:
- 1 (16 to 18 pound) fresh turkey
- A roasting pan and rack (flat or v-shaped)
- An internal probe thermometer
- Cooking oil or spray
- Aluminum foil
For the brine:
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 gallon water or vegetable stock
- 1 gallon cold water
- 5 lbs of ice
- Cooler or 5-gal bucket large enough to hold turkey
For the aromatics:
- 1 red apple, sliced
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 head of garlic, top cut off
- 1 cup water
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 6 leaves sage
For the rub:
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 Tbls fresh sage, minced
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
Step 1: Prep turkey
The night before you'd like to eat:
Because our birds are not frozen there is no need to thaw your turkey. In order to remove the crust, keep your turkey in its bag, place in the sink, and submerge in cold water. Change water every 30 minutes until crust is removed. This could take up to 3 hours.
Take your turkey out of its bag and place it in the sink. Remove innards. Run cold water over the turkey for about 5 minutes, using your hands to massage the skin and break up any residual ice.
Step 2: Brine turkey
Although not required, we recommend brining to keep your turkey moist through the cooking process. Brining before roasting your turkey helps it absorb moisture and retain it as it cooks. This will add lots of juicy flavor to your bird.
Combine the water or vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Combine the brine, water and ice in the cooler or 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Step 3: Add aromatics
The day you’re going to eat:
Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, garlic, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. This will start to open up the flavors.
Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Don’t overstuff, allow the aromatics room to breathe. Tuck the wings underneath and tie legs together if necessary.
Step 4: Turkey Rub
Mix herbs and seasonings into a softened stick of butter. Use your hands to evenly distribute the butter all over the turkey. You can even lift the skin and smear butter under it as well.
Step 5: Cooking the turkey
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Fold a large piece of aluminum foil into a triangular shape that will completely cover the breast meat. Fit this triangle over the breast meat of your bird and then remove it and spray with cooking oil. Set foil aside.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove bird from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Place aluminum foil triangle over the breast meat and insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast, making sure to avoid bone. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 160 degrees F. A 16 to 18 pound bird should require a total of 2 1/2 to 3 hours of roasting (cooking times may vary).
When the thermometer reaches 160 degrees F, remove turkey from oven, and loosely tent with aluminum foil. Let the bird rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. The internal temperature will continue to rise an additional 5 to 10 degrees. After the turkey has rested carve and enjoy.