My hope is that after you read this post and watch the video, if you would like to, you will learn how to roast a turkey that is perfect, moist and loaded in flavor. I know that if it is your first time this task can seem daunting and plain scary. But it does not have to be. There are a few rules of thumb to follow and you will end up with a perfect turkey all the time.
This particular turkey was prepared in a wet brine. A wet brine is a solution that is composed of about 35% salt. It is usually made with water but can be made with beer or wine. Most of the time a wet brine will also include sugar and spices like bay leaves and peppercorns.
By soaking your turkey in a solution the salt in the brine will relax the protein in the muscle and allow the liquid to seep into the meat. This will add moisture to the turkey — especially the breast.
Having said that, this recipe on how to roast a turkey will work perfectly well on a Kosher turkey — no need to prepare it further. Those turkeys are already injected with a solution in order to keep the bird as moist as possible.
One last thing, this method and timing will not work if you have a dry brined turkey. I have another post on how to roast a turkey that has been prepared with a dry brine. The times are slightly different.
You need to remove the turkey from the brine, rinse it and then pat dry it well with paper towels. Make sure you don;t miss the inside of the thighs and under the wings. Dry that bird thoroughly.
I then like rubbing the inside of the breast meat and all of the outer skin with a mixture of garlic salt, sage and freshly ground black pepper. I never stuff my bird as I find that it takes too long to cook and dries up the meat.
However, I like to place a quartered, seeded red apple, a quartered, medium yellow onion, 2 celery stalks halved and 1 carrot halved into the cavity. I find this enhances the flavor overall. I then tie the legs with kitchen twine. Once that is done the turkey must sit at room temperature for 25 minutes. This is very important because if you start roasting it while it is still cold it will not cook uniformly.
In the interim, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. You are going to cook your turkey at this temperature, breast side down, for one hour.
Remove the bird from the oven and baste it with a melted stick of butter mixed with 1 teaspoon ground sage and salt and pepper. Flip it over in the roasting pan so that you now have it breast side up. You can use a long fork for this but I find that the easiest way to flip a hot turkey is by using a couple of clean dish towels. Please be careful not to burn yourself.
Lower the heat in your oven to 375 degrees and cook the turkey until a thermometer registers 175 degrees when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.
Make sure to baste the turkey every hour with the pan juices. Cover it with foil of it is getting too dark. This turkey was 15 pounds and it cooked for four hours. I tented it the last hour.
Remove the turkey from the oven and let it sit for 40 minutes before carving it so that the juices readjust themselves. Serve and enjoy a nice piece of tasty, juicy and scrumptious turkey!