We’re pulling this dish out of the archives because it really is the ultimate roast turkey recipe and should not simply be linked to. It needed to come back into the limelight and take its rightful place at the center of our holiday menu once again. Enjoy!
Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present to you the king of the American Holiday table, the centerpiece of nearly every family gathering in the United States for the months of November and December, the prince of poultry, the roast turkey. As promised, I’m kicking off the Holidays with a focus on the foods of the season, and there’s simply no better place to start than with with this, the noblest of all domestic foul.
The turkey is either the most awaited or most dreaded addition to a holiday meal. Most awaited if the bird is moist, succulent and juicy, and most maligned when dry, overcooked and in desperate need of a slathering of gravy just to make the remains of the once proud bird palatable. the latter almost never happens to me, and I’m going to give forth the secret of the perfect bird, which I assure you, this was.
There are literally thousands of roast turkey, Christmas turkey and Thanksgiving turkey recipes on the Internet, and the methods for achieving the “perfect” bird vary wildly from one recipe to another. Most call for basting the bird constantly throughout the cooking process. If it makes you happy, I suppose you can go ahead, but you’re not going to end up with the results you were looking for. To make the truly prefect turkey you must keep the mantra of poultry perfection on your lips at all times…
“I will not baste. I will not open the oven door. The turkey is fine.”
Sound silly? I know my mother and grandmother would have thought so. Both women basted their birds religiously, and both made some pretty fine turkeys. Over the years I’ve discovered that basting does not make for a better bird. Patience does.
One caveat. If you’ve bought yourself a butterball turkey, this method will not work for you. The skin of a butterball turkey has been pierced, and therefore basting is necessary. For any other poultry in the world, it is NOT, and should not be done. The second part of the mantra is this…
“I will not stuff the turkey…”
Stuffing the bird increases cooking times drastically while robbing you of the perfect opportunity to add flavor to the bird. I adore turkey flavored dressing but if you’ve got a good bird you should have more than enough turkey drippings to make not only a wonderful dressing, but a good amount of gravy as well. (But I digress, those are different entries.)
This method is simplicity in itself, a rub, a trip into the oven and one action that you need to take in the middle, a little patience at the end and viola! You’ll thank me for this, I promise.
The perfect, hassle-free recipe for moist, tender roast turkey, every single time.
If using a Butterball or other turkey that has had the skin pierced, add a Tbsp of flour to a Tbsp. of butter and be sure to seal the punctures in the skin, or the turkey will be dry!
I firmly believe that a turkey should be presented whole at the table. Anything less just seems to take something away from the bird and the work that you’ve put in to it. Place it on a bed of greens (I used curly leafed lettuce) and garnish with fresh fruits or veggies. It’s all the presentation you need.
*Note. the bird may sit at rest indefinitely, even until cooled, without losing any of it’s juiciness as long as the skin is never pierced. to reheat, simply place in a 225°F (107°C) oven for 30-45 minutes.
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
Not a bloody thing.