What should I do to the turkey before I roast it?
1) Brine it. We love a brined bird; it’s more moist, tender, and evenly seasoned.
2) After brining, pat the bird dry before cooking.
3) Scent it by putting wonderful aromatics in the cavity, like roughly chopped onion, celery and carrots, big bunches of herbs like thyme, parsley and a few bay leaves and an orange or a lemon, cut in half.
4) Ideally, let it come to room temperature before cooking; it will decrease the time in the oven, and the meat will cook more evenly.
5) Rub the skin (and under the skin) with tons of butter.
6) Roast away!
A Favorite Brine Recipe
(a la Taste editor Whitney Chen)
- 3 cups apple juice or apple cider
- 2 gallons cold water
- 4 stems of fresh rosemary
- 10 stems of fresh thyme
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1½ cups Kosher salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 3 tablespoons peppercorns
- 5 whole bay leaves
- Peels from 2 oranges
1) Combine all ingredients in a large pot over high heat. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and cover.
2) Allow to cool completely, then pour into a large cooler. Place your uncooked turkey in brine for 16 to 24 hours. If the turkey isn’t fully submerged, you can add water or ice to raise the water level.
3) When ready to roast turkey, remove turkey from brine and rinse it well in cold water in your sink. Pat the turkey dry, and cook.
How long should I cook my turkey?
Cooking times will vary, but the following suggestions are a good gauge to use when cooking a room-temperature (take your turkey out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking), unstuffed, Broad-Breasted White turkey at or around 350 °F. If you’re cooking a heritage breed turkey, we recommend decreasing the temperature to 325° F and adding at least a half hour of cooking time.
- 12 to 14 pounds, unstuffed – 2.5 to 3.5 hours
- 16 to 18 pounds, unstuffed – 3.5 to 4.25 hours
- 18 to 24 pounds, unstuffed – 4.25 to 4.75 hours
- 24 pounds and up, unstuffed – 4.75 to 6.0 hours
What kind of wine goes with turkey?
- Any sparkling wine!
If you like white wine:
- White Burgundy or Unoaked Chardonnay—to go with apples and nutty flavors
- Riesling—for meals that have lots of spice
If you like red wine:
- Red Burgundy or Pinot Noir—best with cooked berries and dessert spices