Updated: Nov 22
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THIS IS IT! The only recipe you will ever need to make THE Perfect Roasted Turkey. Crazy moist and super flavorful. The beautiful centerpiece to any Thanksgiving/Christmas table. And don't forget the finishing touch: THE gravy! Fast and the perfect compliment to the turkey.
If you don't know by now, 2013 was the year when we moved far away from family and our Thanksgiving dinner tradition began here in the Low Country. It wasn't the very first year of being in the South but the very next year. It was my first time making a Thanksgiving dinner in my tiny house and it was a challenge. I was 7 months pregnant with my first son and we had 18 guests for this special dinner.
Take a look at this picture, oh my Lord, it seems like so long ago.
Not only was this my first time making a turkey but it was a first for my husband, in which he said, "Inna this is my first roasted turkey that I like! It's always dry with not much flavor in the meat and I thought this was the normal way turkey should taste. I have never even had the turkey as a table centerpiece either! The turkey on my plate is a vehicle for the rest of the side dishes that I slip into my mouth".
Lol, how many of you have experienced eating turkey that is dry and lacking in flavor? I know a good roasted turkey is not an easy thing to do because it requires time, patience, a bunch of ingredients and most of all lots of love. Preparing even daily meals for your family should always include love from you!
Since the Thanksgiving meal is only once a year and a special meal, take time to carefully choose the best bird. If it comes from a local farm, you are lucky. The ingredients for all your side dishes should be chosen carefully keeping in mind that fresh is best and what grows together goes together.
Here are our favorite side dishes for thanksgiving dinner:
Miso Mashed Potatoes
Ingredients for the turkey
1 (14 to 16 pound) defrosted turkey
Ingredients for the brine
1 cup sea salt
2 bay leaves 1/2 cup raw cane sugar 16 cups vegetable broth (I used homemade in the video)
Ingredients for the aromatics 1 apple, sliced in half
1 onion, sliced in half
1 stick celery
2 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage ( I didn't have in the video)
Ingredients for the wet rub
3/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, sage, thyme, savory)
2 teaspoons pink salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Directions for the roasted turkey
Five to six days before roasting: Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, apple cider, salt, sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, bay leaves and chopped ginger 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 and cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. If you don't have enough time, just stir all together until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved, the way I did in the video.
Combine the brine with 4 cups of ice and then pour them into the 5-gallon bucket with insulation. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down into the brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully submerged. Make sure to cover the turkey with an additional 4 cups of ice and either refrigerate or let sit in a cool area for 24-48 hours, turning the bird once halfway through the brining process.
Once the bringing is complete, take the bird and place it on a baking rack (turkey roaster) and let all the juices drain out. Prepare the aromatics. First, use a paper towel to pat the bird dry and make sure it's not wet. Stick the cloves into the apple and onion. Now, place them inside the bird. Follow with the rest of the ingredients: the celery, cinnamon, lemon, orange, rosemary and sage.
To make the wet rub, place all ingredients in a blender cup and blend together. Use a silicone brush and apply this butter-herb paste all over the bird and be generous with this paste. Place the bird into the fridge for 8-12 hours. I usually do this last step on Wednesday, the day before we are going to eat the bird.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Tuck the wings underneath the bird. Truss a turkey legs with a kitchen twine. Cover the breast with foil. Place the bird with the breast side up and covered with foil into the oven. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes of baking, remove the foil and reduce the temperature to 300 F. Continue roasting the bird until the temperature of the breast reaches 161-164 F. This should take around 3 hours. Half way of cooking, check out and give a little basting. Remember it is optional, but another step to a perfect turkey.
The most important part is to let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for 15-30 minutes or longer before carving.
Trussing a turkey before roasting is not an option its a must procession.
It keeps the legs and wings close to the body so everything cooks evenly.
It is another secret to an evenly cooked gorgeous turkey with crisp, golden brown skin all over and juicy meat!
When the turkey is done, the skin should be golden brown, the juices should run clear, and a thermometer inserted deep into the thigh should read 161ºF. Remember that as the turkey rests, it will continue to cook.