I was terrified the first time preparing a turkey, how do I handle it, how do you clean it and for heavens sake how do I cook it when there are hundreds of methods out there to choose from. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that making your first Thanksgiving turkey is a very intimidating task. Well, I conquered my fear and have to say that I’ve found a pretty simple way to ensure the perfect turkey every time. Simple steps that result in the most delicious turkey I’ve had.
I start with my favorite ingredients, lemon, thyme and melted butter that will dress this turkey entirely to perfection. The ingredients to stuff the turkey with are sweet or yellow onion, garlic, thyme and lemon to infuse the turkey with flavor in every way possible.
Simple Important Tips:
1. Invest in a roasting pan with rack and a digital thermometer (I like the OXO ® Digital Instant Read Thermometer)
2. Take a deep breath and remember you have the internet and YouTube videos to help whenever you get stuck! (YouTube is how I learned to properly tie the legs and tuck the wings, its so simple and easy like tying your shoes once you know you know, but I needed a visual first.)
3. I prefer to buy pre brined turkeys(brined turkeys allow for optimal juiciness) allowing me one less step in the process. My favorite turkeys are Trader Joe’s fresh pre brined All Natural Turkeys, they only have them for a limited time during the holiday season so don’t wait till last minute!!!
4. Prep all your ingredient before starting your turkey (pour your self a glass of wine if needed, turn on favorite music and relax!) Most importantly don’t over complicate the process and keep it simple.
5. Internal temp needs to be 165F for safe consumption, my personal perfect temp is 175F
6. Lightly cover with foil any part of the turkey that starts to brown too much towards the end of cooking, legs and/or breast usually.
- 10-14 pound fresh turkey
- ½ cup(1 stick) butter for melting plus a couple tablespoons softened room temp butter
- 1 large bunch of fresh thyme leaves for stuffing plus 1.5 teaspoons finely chopped thyme for butter mixture
- 2 Lemons
- 1 yellow or sweet onion
- 1 head of garlic
- Roasting pan
- Kitchen string to tie the legs
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Melt ½ cup butter in small sauce pan and add the zest of 1 lemon and juice, then add the chopped 1.5 teaspoons of fresh thyme, remove from heat
- Remove any giblets from the inside of the turkey and wash with cold water then pat dry
- Generously salt and pepper the inside of the turkey before transferring to the roasting pan
- Take room temperature butter that has been seasoned with salt and pepper and carefully separate the skin from the breast using your fingers(being careful not to tear the skin) and generously rub seasoned butter under the skin
- Add to the cavity of the turkey 1 whole lemon halved, bunch of thyme leaves, onion quartered and garlic head halved crosswise
- Take the slightly cooled butter, lemon and thyme mixture and brush over entire turkey
- Generously salt and pepper the outside of the turkey
- Fold wing tips under the turkey and tie the legs together with kitchen string
- Cook turkey at 350F I used a 13 pound turkey and it took about 3 hour and 15 minutes reaching an internal temperature of 175F, checking in the deepest part of thigh
- * general rule of thumb cook turkey 15-20 minutes per pound
- Once Desired internal temperature is reached tent lightly with foil and let the turkey rest for 30 minute before carving and most importantly Enjoy!