It’s turkey time! Even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, turkeys are everywhere and super cheap (if not outright free) for the next couple of weeks. Which means that turkey will be on pretty much everyone’s menu at least once this month.
Sadly, roasting a turkey inspires fear in the hearts of many. Let’s face it, you never just make turkey for you – it’s the kind of thing you invite friends and family over for. So there is always an audience, and that results in major performance anxiety. It doesn’t help that beautifully golden brown and perfectly trussed turkeys are gracing the cover of every food magazine, blog and cooking channel program right now. It’s a lot of pressure!!!!!
That’s why there are thousands of recipes, internet sites and even telephone hotlines dedicated to techniques for preparing this king of poultry. Fresh or frozen? To brine or not to brine? Organic or not? Deep fry, smoke or roast? Inject or rub? Tent with foil? High heat or low? GAH! Too many choices STRESSES ME OUT PEOPLE!!!!!!!
So I decided to rebel against the notion that you need a PHD in poultry to turn out a juicy, delicious bird and just keep it simple for this post. I decided to rebel against the notion that you need a PHD in poultry to turn out a juicy, delicious bird and just keep it simple for this post. It’s not complicated, it’s not difficult, and it takes less time than you might think.
It’s not complicated, it’s not difficult, and it takes less time than you might think. I rub a sage butter under the skin, throw in some quartered lemons and apples to flavor the pan juices, and roast it at high heat to keep it juicy and tender.
I roasted this 13 lb. bird in two hours at 400 degrees and it turned out perfect. The high heat keeps it from drying out, so when I poured the pan juices into a measuring cup to make the gravy there was only one and a half cups of it – that’s because most of it stayed in the bird, which is exactly where you want it.
Also key is letting it rest for AT LEAST half an hour before cutting into it which keeps all the juices from running out onto your cutting board and leaving you with dry meat.
- 12 - 14 lb turkey
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
- 2 Tbsp fresh sage, minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 2 small apples, quartered
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (F) and adjust your racks to fit the turkey into it.
- Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and rinse the bird inside and out. Pat dry.
- Combine the softened butter, sage, garlic, salt and butter in a small bowl, mixing well to combine. Starting from the back of the bird, slide your fingers between the skin and breast meat, opening a cavity that extends all the way to the front and along the sides of the breast. Push the flavored butter under the skin, covering all of the meat. Do the same with the tops of the drumsticks, being careful not to pierce the skin. This is no time to be squeamish - roll up your sleeves and get in there with your fist full of butter! Then rub the remaining butter over the rest of the skin of the turkey, top and bottom.
- Stuff the quartered lemons and apples into the cavity of the bird. If they don't all fit, throw the rest into your roasting pan.
- Place the bird UPSIDE DOWN into the roasting pan - this protects the breast and keeps it from drying out. Roast at 400 degrees for one hour. Remove from the oven and turn over carefully. Roast right side up for another hour. Test with a meat thermometer for 165 degrees at the thickest part of the thigh. If not quite there, give it another 15 minutes and test it again. Remove from the oven and let it rest - preferably for an hour if you can.
- While the turkey is resting, pour the pan juices into a measuring cup. Skim off 90% of the fat and then add about ½ cup of water and ½ tsp of xanthan gum (if you have it) to thicken it. Puree in a blender or magic bullet and re-heat just before serving.
I'm not sure how to calculate the nutrition information in this recipe so use your best judgement.
This turkey is perfectly complemented by my Low Carb and Gluten Free Turkey Stuffing recipe,
as well as my Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pine Nuts recipe!
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