Roasted Turkey
 
 
This recipe employs a few methods for perfection roasted turkey: dry brine, spatchcock, mayonnaise "baste," and cooking with high heat. The blog post above goes into complete detail explaining the hows and whys of every step. The recipe below is a summary and printer-friendly version.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 whole, fresh, non-brined turkey (tip: I prefer to cook two smaller turkeys rather than one giant turkey when I cook for a large crowd)
  • DRY BRINE INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt for every 5 pounds of turkey weight
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper + ½ teaspoon dried herbs (like sage, parsley, thyme) for every 1 tablespoon of salt (optional)
  • ROASTING INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 to 1½ cups mayonnaise (good for around a 15 pound turkey, adjust accordingly based on your turkey size)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon or so of dried herbs (sage & thyme are my choice) and some black pepper
  • Roughly chopped vegetables like onions, carrots, celery and parsnips - enough to spread a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet
Instructions
  1. Begin turkey preparation one to three days before you plan to roast the turkey.
  2. SPATCHCOCK THE TURKEY: Spatchcocking involves cutting out the backbone of the turkey. Most store butchers will do this for you (often they'll even do it for free!). I usually have the butcher do it, but if you want to cut the backbone out yourself, please read the detailed instructions in the blog post above.
  3. DRY BRINE: Lay your spatchcocked turkey flat on a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with the salt (and pepper and herbs, if using) all over the turkey. You do NOT need to put salt inside the turkey or under the skin – right on top of the skin works just fine. You can leave uncovered or lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 day or up to 3 days (3 days produces best results).
  4. ROASTING THE TURKEY:
  5. Preheat the oven to 450º F.
  6. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (optional but makes for easier clean up).
  7. IF YOU WANT TO “STUFF” THE TURKEY: Place a layer of stuffing on the baking sheet, concentrating the stuffing at the center where it will be directly under the turkey. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on top of the stuffing, then lay the turkey on the rack.
  8. Slather about 1 to 1½ cups mayonnaise all over the turkey. You can add pepper and herbs to the mayonnaise if you like (I added about a teaspoon of dry sage and thyme, along with some black pepper, to the mayo).
  9. Roast for about 45-60 minutes, take the turkey out of the oven, have one person lift the turkey straight up while the other person scoops the stuffing off of the pan. Replace with vegetables as described in the next step (the “non-stuffing” step). Mix the “stuffed” stuffing with the rest of your stuffing and bake as usual for your stuffing recipe.
  10. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO “STUFF” THE TURKEY: Place roughly chopped celery, onion, carrots and parsnips on the foil of the baking sheet. Place an oven-safe cooling rack over the veggies then place the turkey on the rack. (If you “stuffed,” you’ll simply put the turkey back down.)
  11. Slather about 1 to 1½ cups mayonnaise all over the turkey. You can add pepper and herbs to the mayonnaise if you like (I added about a teaspoon of dry sage and thyme, along with some black pepper, to the mayo).
  12. FOR BOTH “STUFFED” and “UNSTUFFED”: Roast the turkey with an oven-safe thermometer placed deep in the breast. When the breast reaches 150º F, move the thermometer to the deepest part of the thigh and cook the turkey until the thigh temperature reaches 165º F, which will take about another 20 minutes. Total cooking time will be around 2 hours for a 15 pound turkey. Note: if you are not using an oven safe thermometer that just beeps when the temperature is reached, check the temperature earlier than you think you have to. Our 2016 15-pound turkey was fully done at 1½ hours.
  13. Take turkey out of the oven and let it rest for about 30 minutes before carving.
  14. The veggies in the pan are great for snacking while you make the rest of dinner, and be sure to add the pan drippings to your turkey broth for making gravy!
Recipe by This Week for Dinner at https://thisweekfordinner.com/how-to-cook-the-perfect-turkey/