Preparing a Turkey the easy way.
That's a mighty big bird you have sitting on your kitchen counter. Real big. Could be close to eleven pounds, but DON'T BE INTIMIDATED. DON'T BE AFRAID. That bird has been shot, plucked, frozen, thawed, and most importantly, beheaded. It won't bite you. You have nothing to fear. We'll get through this together.
Cooking your first turkey is a daunting proposition, but if you follow a few simple steps, it will turn out perfect every time. You will be surprised how easy it really is, it is time consuming. So, be prepared.
A good cook always has their items to hand. So on that note…
What you will need:
- One fully thawed turkey (ideally thawed over 2-3 days in your refrigerator. You can speed up the process my immersing the frozen turkey in cool water for 6-8 hours.)
- 2 gallons cool water
- 2 cups table salt (or 4 cups Kosher Salt)
Stop. That's all we need right now. Remember how I said preparing a turkey was easy but time consuming? This is one of the time consuming parts. We are going to Brine the turkey. Brining flavors the turkey while helping to keep it moist and succulent through the cooking process.
- Fill a non reactive container with two gallons of cool water (a big stockpot with a lid is ideal)
- Dissolve salt in the water.
- Remove the giblet bag from the body cavity of the turkey and put those aside for when you make giblet gravy.
- Submerge the turkey in the salt and water solution.
- Place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to overnight.
The next day…
What you will need:
- Your turkey
- One stick melted butter
- One Tablespoon Dried Thyme
- One Tablespoon Dried Rosemary
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Cracked Pepper
- Large Roasting Pan and V-Rack
- One Cup Water
- Meat Thermometer
Alright, now it's time to get cooking…
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Yes, 450 degrees.
- Remove your turkey from the brining solution.
- Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water.
- Pat dry with paper towels (you'll probably need a lot of these).
- Now, work your fingers under the skin and loosen it from the flesh. Don't tear it or remove it.
- Now combine the thyme, rosemary, and melted butter.
- Turn the turkey on it's side, and pour a little of the butter herb mixture between the skin and flesh.
- Rub the butter in with your hands (use gloves if you want)
- Repeat until you have rubbed all the butter herb mixture all over the bird, but not on top of the skin.
- Wash and dry your hands.
- Now sprinkle the Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper all over the turkey( some substitute a spice rub like Tony Chachere's for a different flavor).
Now the bird is prepped and ready for the oven…
- Grab your roasting pan and rack.
- Place foil over the v-rack and poke some holes in it.
- Place the Turkey breast side down on the rack.
- Pour one cup of water in the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Place in the oven for 35 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 275 and cook for another 30 minutes.
Now here's where you need to be careful and not burn yourself.
- Remove the turkey and the roasting pan from oven.
- Grab two big wads of paper towel (one in each hand).
- Flip the turkey breast side up.
- Place back in the oven and continue cooking, basting occasionally with pan juices.
- It should take approximately 20 minutes per pound.
- Begin checking the internal temperature of the bird about thirty minutes before you think it is going to be done. The breast should be between 165-170 degrees and the legs should be about 180 degrees when the bird is fully cooked.
- Remove from oven and let rest 20-30 minutes uncovered before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute and make the gobbler extra moist.
Wow. That was easy wasn't it? Hope you and your family enjoy.