Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Whole Oven Roasted Turkey Recipe [The Best Turkey EVER]

photo taken November 27, 2011

Originally posted November 29, 2010.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of the perfectly roasted turkey. We were all a bit too eager to dig into it, to stop and think about photography. I snagged one snapshot of the platter of poultry, but that's as good as it gets. 

But seriously, I have never heard so many people oooh and ahhhh over turkey ever before. I have eaten a lot of turkey in my day and I have to be honest---it was THE BEST turkey I have ever eaten. The flavor was perfect. It was so tender. And I didn't know a turkey could be that moist. Melt in your mouth, people. 

Don't be afraid of the turkey. Conquer it. You'll be glad you did. 

Whole Oven Roasted Turkey Recipe 
serves 6-10 people 

13-15lb frozen turkey (defrosted in the refrigerator one week in advance)
1/4 cup softened butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Italian seasonings 
2 whole onions 

These directions are specifically for a frozen turkey, as that's what I worked with and had enormous success with at Thanksgiving. I investigated brining (salt water) recipes, but they were all for fresh turkeys. Most frozen turkeys have been injected with a sodium solution for preserving it, meaning no need to soak in salt water. :) 

Defrost your packaged frozen turkey in the refrigerator one week prior to your dinner. The night before your event, remove the turkey from plastic packaging and pull out the bags of innards. (You may discard these.) Prepare your roasting pan (or 9x13 inch pan) by placing a roasting rack in it. Rinse your turkey under running water. Dry off thoroughly with paper towels and place in the roasting pan, breast side up. 

In a small bowl combine the dry seasonings. 

Using your hands, spread the softened butter over every surface of the turkey--and if you want it to be extra good, rub the butter underneath the layer of skin covering the breast meat. Then, using your hands again, pat the spice mixture onto the buttered turkey. Be sure to get the underside and the crevices around the legs and wings. 

Peel the onions and chop into half. Place onions inside the turkey. 

Cover with tinfoil and refrigerate. 

One hour prior to baking time, remove the turkey from the fridge to bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake time is 10 minutes per pound. (I had a 13 pound turkey, so it baked from 10:45am to 1pm.) THEN increase oven temperature to 375. Melt a few tablespoons of butter and brush over the surface of the turkey. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh near the joint. Bake another 30 minutes or until temperature has risen to 170. (Note: if, at any point during baking time, skin is getting closer to over-browning, drape loosely with foil.) 

Once the turkey has reached 170 degrees remove from the oven and tent with foil, allowing it to rest for 30 minutes before carving (this will redistribute juices and make it melt-in-your-mouth delicious.) 

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