Simple Roast Turkey

Despite the NUMBER of steps involved in making a great turkey, they’re all so simple, a Bad Cook could do ‘em. Breathe. One step at a time.

These instructions are best for pasture-raised turkeys, which you can get from local farmers (check EatWild.com). You can also order through online retailers like Slanker’s Meats or check your local health food market. If you use a standard Butterball turkey, you’ll want to use the recipe listed on the package. You will NOT need to brine a Butterball, as it’s already injected with a solution to keep it moist.

Your life will be ten thousand times easier if you request that your butcher SPLIT the pastured turkey for you. If this isn’t possible, that’s OK. Just so you know.

Your turkey will be ten thousand times more delicious, moist and flavorful if you brine it. Brine just means “put it in salt water for awhile.” It’s super duper easy – instructions below.

Finally, hyperbole is THE MOST AWESOME THING SINCE THE MOON LANDING

Make sure your turkey is fully thawed before you brine it, and begin brining at least 24 hours before you’re ready to cook your bird.

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Simple Roast Turkey
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Simple Roast Turkey
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup sea salt plus water for the brine
  • 1 stick butter softened, per 10-12 lbs. turkey
  • 4 carrots peeled and chopped into 1” chunks
  • 4 stalks celery peeled and chopped into 1” chunks
  • 1 medium yellow onion roughly chopped into chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon ground dried thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sea salt plus water for the brine
  • 1 stick butter softened, per 10-12 lbs. turkey
  • 4 carrots peeled and chopped into 1” chunks
  • 4 stalks celery peeled and chopped into 1” chunks
  • 1 medium yellow onion roughly chopped into chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon ground dried thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
Instructions
  1. To brine, just dissolve the sea salt in a few cups of warm water (heat up the water and stir the salt in until dissolved; add more water if you think you need it to dissolve the salt).
  2. Put the thawed turkey, giblets and innards removed, in a large stockpot (you can even use a large food-grade bucket if you’ve got one). Pour in the salt water brine and add water until the turkey is submerged. If you can’t submerge the whole turkey, just flip the turkey a few times during the brining process.
  3. Keep the brining turkey in the refrigerator.
  4. A few hours before it’s time to cook the turkey, remove it from the brine and allow the outside of the turkey to dry.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (brined turkeys cook faster!)
  6. Rub the outside of the turkey with lots of butter (you can even prick the skin and push butter UNDER the skin) or high-quality olive oil or other cooking fat (coconut oil not recommended as it’s too tropical) if you’re dairy-free.
  7. Combine thyme and rosemary and rub it all over the turkey. If you did NOT brine your turkey, add plenty of salt to this step.
  8. Put the chopped carrot, celery and onion at the bottom of the roasting pan with 2 cups of your brining liquid OR 2 cups of water or broth. Top with the turkey.
  9. Roast until the thickest part of the turkey reaches the “safe temperature” of 165°F. Figure about 15 minutes cook time per lb. pastured turkey, but keep an eye on it.
  10. Once it’s done, you can save the drippings at the bottom of the pan to make gravy.

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