A perfectly cooked turkey doesn’t have to be complicated. A few tips include:
- Opt for a high-quality turkey, which means raised ethically, and fed a natural organic diet.
- The rule of thumb is to buy about 1.5 pounds of turkey per person so that an eight-person dinner would call for a 12-pound turkey. This factors in some leftovers!
- If you’re buying a frozen turkey, it needs at least an entire day in the fridge to thaw (even for a 4-pound turkey), so consider thawing it two days in advance just to be safe.
- Don’t baste the turkey, which helps keep heat in the oven, ensures an even cook (and can avoid it from needing to cook it longer and drying it out).
- The general rule is 20 minutes in the oven per pound (so 4-hours for that 12-pound turkey), but use a thermometer to check when it is finished. It is cooked at 165 degrees F, and you can measure the temp by leaving the turkey in the oven and poking it deeply with a food thermometer. Once it reads 160F, remove it from the oven and let it rest outside of the oven covered in foil for the last 5 degrees. Make sure to let it rest for 15-30 minutes before serving.
- Wild and organic turkey (1.5 pounds per person eating)
- 1-2 granny smith apples
- 1 large onion
- 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 lemons
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Sea salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons of grass-finished butter (or olive oil)
For Butter Sauce:
- ⅓ cup of butter (or olive oil)
- 3 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- Preheat the oven to 325°F/ 165°C (for standard ovens), or 300°F/ 150°C (fan-forced).
- Pat down the turkey with a paper towel.
- Seed the apples, and chop the apples, onion, garlic, and lemons into quarters.
- Stuff the cavity with lemon, onion, garlic, apple, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, a few cracks of salt, and pepper.
- Using your fingers, tuck a few pats of butter or a good drizzle of olive oil under the skin of the bird, just above the cavity (on the top side of the turkey).
- Make a butter (or olive oil) sauce to coat the outside of the bird by melting the butter with the dried thyme and rosemary, and painting it on the entire exterior of the bird (wings and all), using a brush. Make sure it’s well coated.
- Place the turkey in the center of the oven, uncovered, cook for about 20 minutes per pound (but use a thermometer as your actual gauge for when to take it out).
- The turkey is done once the food thermometer reads 160F, but keep an eye on the turkey as it cooks since every oven is slightly different. Once the bird is well golden, if the reading doesn’t hit 160F, cover it with foil to prevent it from getting any browner.
- Let the turkey rest for 15-30 minutes before serving.