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Thanksgiving Turkey

November is one of my favorites months for cooking. Angel and I go to four Thanksgivings during November so I find myself in the kitchen most of the month, no complaints! During one thanksgiving I cooked 3 turkeys in a 48 hour span. I must admit, to have a crowd applause something you spent hours making has it’s rewards. You’ve heard the phrase you ”risk it for the reward” and again I must admit making the main dinner attraction for a room full of friends/family can be overwhelming. I have used this technique and recipe to make many turkey‘s and each time I’ve had great success. Trust the process and enjoy the rewards.

Click here for a great resource for cook times depending on size of bird.

You will need a few supplies for this recipe:

  • Small pot/saucepan

  • Meat thermometer

  • Cheesecloth

  • Roasting Pan (Aluminum is fine)

  • Turkey Baster

  • Butcher Twine

Here is the list of ingredients:

  • 18-20 lb Whole Fresh Turkey (Giblets and Neck Removed from cavity)

  • 3 1/2 sticks (1 3/4 cups) unsalted butter (3 sticks melted, 1/2 stick room temp)

  • 1 750 ml bottle dry white wine

  • Fresh Herb Poultry Blend (Sage, Thyme, Rosemary)

  • 2 medium Carrots 1/2“ slices

  • 2 stalks Celery 1/2” slice

  • 3 cloves Garlic crushed

  • 1 medium yellow onion diced large

  • 1/4 tsp ground sage

  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme

  • 3 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

  1. Rinse turkey and remove giblets and neck from cavity, if it came with that. Remove built in cook temp indicator, if it came with one. Allow turkey to sit for two hours at room temperature.

  2. Heat oven to 450º Fahrenheit. In a small saucepan, melt 3 sticks of butter along with bottle of white wine. Unravel cheesecloth and fold into a 17” square with 4 layers. Place cheesecloth into saucepan with melted butter and wine.

  3. Pat turkey with a paper towel inside and out to remove excess moisture. In a large bowl add Fresh Poultry Herb Blend, carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and toss to combine. Add as much of this into the cavity as will fit without compacting.

  4. Combine 1/2 stick room temp butter, ground sage, ground thyme, 2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper in a small bowl and mix till well incorporated. Cover outside of turkey with this butter mixture. Be sure to get under the skin also for great flavor.

  5. Tie legs together with butcher twine and tuck wings behind the bird to keep from burning. Carefully drape soaked cheesecloth over the turkey. Most of the bird should be covered, especially the breast.

  6. Place turkey legs first into the oven for 30 minutes. Baste turkey every 30 minutes throughout cooking process. If pan juices get too full, remove and reserve for gravy. Reduce heat to 35oº Fahrenheit after 30 minutes.

  7. Continue to cook for 2 1/2 hours, remembering to baste every thirty minutes with wine and butter mixture. *The turkey will look like a burnt mummy, trust the process.

  8. Carefully remove cheesecloth after third hour of cooking. Turn turkey so breast is facing the back of the oven. Cook one additional hour. Continue basting with wine and butter or pan juices if you’ve ran out of wine and butter.

  9. After fourth hour of cooking, use meat thermometer in thickest part of the thigh. Temperature should read between 170º-180º Fahrenheit, continue cooking and checking every 20 minutes till temp is reached.

  10. Allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes before serving.

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