Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe
This juicy Roast Turkey is brined and then seasoned with a simple flavored herb butter and roasted until golden brown. This melt-in-your-mouth decadent roast turkey recipe is the perfect and the best turkey recipe to make during the holidays!
Servings 6 servings
For the Brine
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 oranges quartered
- 2 lemons quartered
- 1 apple quartered
- 5 thyme sprigs
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 gallons of water
For the Turkey
- 1 (10-12 pounds) turkey, fresh or completely thawed out
- 6 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 2 carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks (peeled or unpeeled)
- 2 celery ribs, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- a few sage leaves (optional)
- 1 to 1 ½ cup turkey or chicken stock
Turkey Broth (optional)
- Reserved turkey neck and giblets
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 small bay leaf
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups low salt chicken stock or broth (canned or homemade)
For The Gravy
- ½ cup white wine
- 3 cups turkey broth or chicken broth, plus more if needed
- ¼ cup flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Reserved cooked turkey neck meat and giblets if desired
For the Brine
In a non-reactive container (like a clean bucket, big stock pot or a food grade plastic container) dissolve the salt and the sugar in 2 gallons of water. Add the rest of the brine ingredients. Mix to dissolve the sugar.
Remove the neck and bag of giblets from the turkey cavity and discard or reserve for making the broth. Remove giblets from the bag they come in and place them with the turkey neck in a resealable bag or sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Remove any plastic or wire holding the turkey legs together. Remove any astray pin feathers and give the turkey a quick rinse under cold running water (this last step is optional). Details on post above.
Submerge the turkey into the brining liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours (minimum) or overnight.
Remove the turkey from the brining solution. RINSE the turkey under cold running water (do not skip this step or you run the risk of having an overly salty turkey). Pat dry the turkey with paper towels (especially the outside of the turkey so the skin crisps up). You can let the turkey air dry for about 30 minutes if time permits.
Seasoning and Roasting The Turkey
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make the flavored butter, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic cloves and soy sauce and mix well. Remove from the heat.
Place the turkey in a large roasting pan breast side up to season it (no roasting rack is needed).
Start by seasoning inside the cavity lightly with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey cavity with some of the onions, carrots, celery, lemon, thyme, rosemary and a few sage leaves. Place the remaining aromatics around the turkey in the roasting pan. It is a good idea to place the bigger pieces like carrots, onions and celery under the turkey before roasting.
Using your fingers, carefully loosen and separate the skin from the breast meat. With a spoon, pour some of the melted flavored butter under the skin, trying to get some around the leg/thigh area. You can discard the garlic cloves or place them under the skin or inside the cavity for extra flavor. Don't place garlic directly on the roasting pan as it could burn.Slowly pour or brush the remaining flavored butter all over the turkey. Season with salt and ground black pepper.
Loosely tie the turkey drumsticks together with kitchen string. Fold the wings under the turkey (optional). Carefully flip the turkey so the breast side is down.
Roast the turkey uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour. (see Chef's Note #4). While the turkey is roasting for the first hour, make the turkey broth.
For the Turkey Broth
In a heavy saucepan place the turkey neck and giblets (the liver should only be added during the last 15 minutes of cooking). Add the chopped onion, carrots, celery and bay leaf. Pour water and broth over and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until reduced to about 4 cups. If using, add the turkey liver during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Strain the stock and reserve.
If you like to add bits of turkey neck meat and/or giblets into your gravy, pull the meat from the turkey neck and chop the meat and giblets finely. Reserve.
After the first hour of roasting, remove the turkey from the oven and carefully flip the bird, breast side up. Baste the turkey with chicken or turkey broth/stock (about 1/4 - 1/2 cup) and return to the oven.
Continue roasting the turkey uncovered, breast side up for about 2 to 3 hours or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest and meatiest part of the thigh (avoid hitting the bone). Baste the turkey with about ½ cup of turkey or chicken broth/stock every hour during the cooking time. See Chef's Note #6
Remove from the oven and place the turkey on a serving platter or cutting board (if carving). Tent the roasted turkey with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 to 30 minutes before carving.
To Make the Gravy
Discard any vegetables or herbs from the roasting pan and pour the turkey pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Skim off the fat.
Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat. You can also use a saucepan if you prefer although you will be missing the brown bits stuck at the bottom of the roasting pan.
Return the turkey pan juices into the roasting pan or saucepan. Add the wine and deglaze, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the roasting pan with a wooden spoon. Add 3 cups of the reserved turkey broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer while making the roux. (You can use canned broth if you didn't make the turkey broth from scratch)
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook this mixture for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.
Slowly, pour the simmering stock mixture from the roasting pan into the butter/flour mixture (roux) whisking constantly and vigorously to prevent any lumps. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring as needed until the gravy thickens. Keep in mind that the gravy will continue to get thicker as it sits. Add additional broth to thin it out if needed.
You can add the reserved chopped neck meat and giblets, if desired. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper and pour into a gravy boat.
Serving The Turkey
You can serve the whole roast turkey on a platter, garnished with fresh herbs, sliced citrus and/or whole cranberries or you can carve the turkey before serving it.
Arrange the carved roast turkey meat on a platter with garnishes. Serve alongside the homemade gravy.
- #1 If you have a very large turkey and need more brining solution, use ½ cup of salt + ½ brown sugar per each gallon of water.
- #2 Always rinse the turkey after removing it from the brining solution.
- #3 Pat dry the turkey with paper towels. You can also air dry the turkey at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- #4 If your turkey is very large or you feel flipping the turkey breast side up after 1 hour of cooking is too hard, simply roast the turkey breast side up for the entire cooking time.
- #5 If the turkey breast skin is getting too dark, tent a piece of aluminum foil over it to prevent it from over browning.
- #6 It's important to baste the turkey with broth, however you can use melted butter to baste the turkey the last hour of cooking. Butter will make the skin turn golden quicker, that's why I only use it the last hour of cooking.
- #7 You can remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. The temperature will rise while the turkey rests reaching a safe-temp of 165 degrees.
Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 19556mg | Potassium: 688mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 5720IU | Vitamin C: 69.1mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 2.3mg