For the first time ever, Foodienomial took on the task of cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. Normally, we do all the lamb and vegetarian dishes. However, this year, we were determined to create as delicious a turkey as we possibly could. I will say, this was quite a learning experience! After reading many different recipes, and talking to a few turkey-veterans, we came up with our own unique recipe and technique.
12-14lbs whole turkey (neck and giblets can be reserved for gravy)
1Tbs of salt per 4lbs of bird
2Tbs ground Cloves
2Tbs dried Sage
2Tbs dried Thyme
1Tbs Freshly cracked black pepper
1 cheese cloth
1/2-1cup ghee melted
4 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 sprigs fresh Sage
1white onion quartered
1/2 a Macintosh or granny smith apple sliced
1 Roasting pan with the rack
Two days before you are ready to roast your bird, you need to dry-brine it. Why dry-brine? It imparts more flavor into the meat, and allows for a much crisper skin. There's nothing wrong with a wet-brine, but this way yields far better flavor in my opinion.
To dry-brine, mix together the salt, pepper, and dried spices in a bowl. Sprinkle liberally all over the bird including between the wings, legs, and in the cavity. Massage it in to ensure that the bird is thoroughly covered. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 48hrs.
Preheat the oven to 450F (roughly 230C) and align the oven rack so that there is only 1 and it is on the bottom-most level of the oven. Take your bird our of the plastic and set aside. Next, take out your roasting pan (which should have a rack to place the bird on). Melt your butter and keep on low heat while you are prepping your bird. Cover the rack insert with aluminum foil and then brush liberally with some of the melted butter. Take your sprigs of Thyme and Sages, your onion and apple slices and place deep into the cavity of the bird. Take the butchers twine and tie the legs together tightly to seal in the herbs, and fruit in the cavity. Take the wings and tuck them under the breast of the bird. Lay the bird breast side up on the buttered aluminum foil covered rack.
Take your cheese cloth, place in the melted butter and soak up all the butter you can. Next, lay the cheese cloth on top of the bird.
Roast the bird at 450F for 1hr then reduce the temperature to 350F (approximately 175C) and tuck the cheese cloth between the breast and the wings so the wings are slightly exposed allowing them to crisp up. Cover the tips of the legs with aluminum foil to prevent burning. Cook for 40min then remove the cheese cloth entirely from the bird and allow the turkey to finish cooking uncovered so the skin gets brown and crisp. Take the bird out when it reads a temperature around 160F (approximately 71C) and let it rest for 1 hour.
After you've let it rest, carve the bird and serve with gravy! After the resting time, I cut the bird and it was still smoking hot in the middle. The skin was delightfully crisp, the bird was seasoned perfectly, and most of all the flavor was incredible.
Enjoy with those you love!