11.25.2012

Making an awesome T-Day Turkey


Making a turkey doesn't have to be so strenuous and horrible. Honestly it is one of the simpler dishes to make at the holidays. Often people don't like turkey because the white meat is too dry and the meat is bland. If you add an herb butter rub to the meat then you will add not only flavor but keep the meat tender and moist.

I made this turkey for the last two thanksgivings and while my brother feels that I committed a crime by omitting the stuffing inside the turkey, I have never had any complaints. It is a simple recipe and makes great leftovers such as gumbo. Don't forget to keep the carcass and veggies for a turkey stock later!

Kris's butter spice rub for a approx. 18lbs turkey:

1 stick of butter softened
1 tbls approx. cumin
1 tbls approx. paprika
1 tbls approx. garlic powder
1 tbls approx. chili powder
pinch of kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Mix with hands until all the ingredients are combined.

For the Turkey you will need:
  1. 4 onions quartered
  2. 2 lemons quartered
  3. salt
  4. pepper
  5. Roasting pan lined with heavy duty foil (makes clean up a breeze!)

Preparation of a 16-18 lbs turkey:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Cut and quarter 2-3 onions and spread them in the roasting pan so that it evenly covers the bottom.
  3. Remove the neck and liver from inside the cavity and butt. Save the neck for stock if you like but discard the liver.
  4. Rinse the inside and outside of turkey with COLD running water. Then take paper towels and pat the inside and outside dry. 
  5. Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity and place on the bed of onions.
  6. Take a small paring knife and cut delicately the thin membrane between the breast and skin on each side the turkey breast bone. 
  7. Use your fingers and scoop the butter rub under the skin and spread as evenly as possible until majority of breast is covered. Don't be stingy!
  8. With the remaining butter spread it evenly over the skin, thighs and wings if possible.
  9. Stuff the cavity with one quartered onion and the lemons. place the legs back in the plastic holder.
Before entering the oven

Cooking the Turkey: 

After cooking at 450 for 15 min cover with foil.
  1. Place in the oven at 450 for 15 minutes.
  2. Take the turkey out and cover the wing tips and place a heavy duty foil cover over the breast meat only and long enough that it covers the back.
  3. Place a electric meat thermometer in a meaty part of the turkey (usually between the thigh and breast) halfway in. You will need to visualize it and try not to hit the bone.
  4. Put back in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Set the temp for 161 degrees.
    • You don't actually need to cook a turkey to 165 because once you take it out, it will keep cooking for an hour after. Also make sure that even if the temp reads 161, you check another meaty part of the turkey. I suggest the back part of the breast, put the thermometer in half way again. If the temp drops  put it back in the oven. If not then remove the thermometer proceed to the next step.
  5. After the turkey reaches 161 take out remove the breast and wing foil and cover the whole bird with a larger piece of foil and let sit for 1 hour. 
  6. This will be a good time to put all your sides in the 350 oven to warm up.
  7. Carve up and enjoy!
Cooks notes:
Remove a lot of meat from the bones, keep the carcass and reserve the onions and lemons from the pan. Place all of that in a large stock pot with some more onions, celery, carrots, and whatever other odd pieces of veggies you have around throw in some salt and pepper. Fill the pan up with water so that it covers the contents. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer all day or night. Strain the broth through a mesh strainer into another large bowl. Cool the stock and let it sit for 6 hours in the fridge. Take out and skim off all the fat. Store in freezer bags and you now have homemade fantastic turkey stock!


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