Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Seasoning A Turkey

I know we all have different ways of getting our bird ready for the big day, so I almost hesitated in sharing this. Then I remembered that there was a time when I had no idea what to do to a Turkey, and I even cooked it without taking out the bag of goodies that was in the neck cavity - yeah, we won't go there!!! LOL
Over the years I have come up with a nice way to make turkey juicy and tasty. First things first...pick the bird.

The BEST thing you can ever do is buy a FRESH - NEVER FROZEN turkey. You would have to order it from your butcher or specialty meat market most likely.

If you can't do that, then at least look for a turkey that is NATURAL, and has not been "injected" with broth and flavorings. This is hard to do, because almost ALL meat has been injected with some sort of solution - it's actually kinda scary. But if you ask your butcher, or the person who wears the white coat and appears to be a butcher, they should be able to help you out.

Once your bird is thawed, removed the bags of guts, rinse him well inside and out and pat him dry. Set him on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Now you're ready to season, here's what I do...

In a small bowl, mix fresh chopped herbs (Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and minced Garlic with Kosher or Sea Salt, and Fresh Ground Black Pepper) - add equal amounts of melted butter and extra virgin olive oil to make a gooey paste. You want to end up with about 1/2 - 3/4 of a cup.

Using your fingers, gently lift the skin of the breast and legs away from the meat, but don't tear the skin if possible.
Now rub that Herb Goop all up in there, as far as you can ~ get around his knees and onto his thighs, tickle the side of his ribs too!

Next, roughly chop up some carrots, celery and sweet yellow onion, also, smash about 4-5 cloves of garlic with the flat side of a butcher knife. Fill his body cavity with these veggies (I don't stuff my Turkey - I like my stuffing baked in a dish, besides this cuts down on roasting time and leaves no possibility of contamination).

See that flab of skin hangin' by his back end? Cut a small slit in it and tuck his little ankle bones in there to secure them. Tuck his wings behind his neck (even though he doesn't have one), kinda like he's sunbathing.
Next, I like to soften a little more butter and add a bit of olive oil in a small bowl. Now rub this all over this bad boy, grease him up good!

The next thing I do is pour a couple of cans of homemade chicken broth into the pan. If you don't have homemade, get a good quality organic broth if you can. This is going to be the base for your gravy, so don't skimp here.'s a good idea to defrost it first....BUT if you don't for some unknown, strange, air-headed's gonna melt in the oven just fine, but you have to get it in the pan!!!!

Get the turkey safely to the oven, avoiding the slobber tongue of your dog!

If you have a temp probe like this one from Pampered Chef, insert it into the thickest part of the thigh, but don't let it touch the bone. Set it for the proper poultry setting and walk away and it'll beep when your turkey is done! Oh! Be sure to pre-heat your oven first, lol.

Check on him every now and again. If he's golden, tent him lightly with foil so he doesn't burn. Add more broth if it disappears. Once you take him out, cover him with foil and let him sit there undisturbed for AT LEAST 30 minutes. This let's the juices set up - you do NOT want a dry bird! :) Enjoy!


Loren said...

Goodness Gracious my friend you need an award for this UH MA ZING and oh so informative post!!!! Seriously this is awesome! I want to come to YOUR house and have YOUR looks FABULOUS! :)

confused homemaker said...

I love sharing ideas on cooking turkeys. And too funny about leaving the "extras" in once, I myself have done something similar. Hey, we all learn some way right?

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

That looks DELICIOUS and AMAZING!! Wow - so many good tips on the turkey. Love it!

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