Thanksgiving Miracle: Too Easy Turkey
I am going to just come out and make a pretty bold statement about this Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe.
This turkey will be your best yet for three reasons.
- The ease of prep and cooking.
- The juiciness of the entire turkey.
- And, most importantly, the number of compliments you will receive from everyone at the table because of how your entire meal came together!
Small story: I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws one year and I offered to cook the Thanksgiving meal as my sister-in-law had just had a baby. This was a pretty special meal, not only due to the new baby, but her grandmother had flown in for the holiday. I had my work cut out as she is a pretty picky eater, and likes things done her way. Once the meal was done I will always remember her comment of, and I quote, “In all of my years that is the best turkey I have ever had.” I am not sure why, but that meant the world to me and that someone I did not really know loved my turkey so much. She then proceeded to ask me what I did and how I was able to make the Turkey so juicy. Her favorite meat is white meat, but admitted that she normally had to smother it in gravy and melted butter to eat it.
However, this Thanksgiving she was so shocked to find she didn’t feel a need to add anything and she had to know why. So I explained my secret. It is just a simple idea of cooking your turkey upside down. The dark meat, that is located on the bottom of the Turkey contains the most fat which makes it a more flavorful meat. By flipping the Turkey upside down, those flavors and juices help moisten the white meat as it cooks.
Also a few other tips below add to the flavor and help boost the juicy factor. This is the same technique used to cook a rotisserie chicken, which is why they are always so moist and juicy. Lastly, I included to always make sure and create a tinfoil tent over the top of your turkey to help it cook evenly.
Try out this recipe and I am sure you have the same result. With the ease of prep and delicious results, you really have nothing to lose, except time and maybe some stress in the kitchen!
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2.5-3 hours
Total time: 3-3.5 hours
What You Need
- 6-7 medium sized potatoes, yellow or red, cubed roughly*
- 3 carrots chopped
- Butter - 1 stick softened
- Chicken stock (2 cartons)
- 6 whole cloves peeled garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced rosemary
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon dried and ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Turkey 14-16 lbs***
*I normally buy a whole bag of potatoes and use any leftovers from this for my mashed potatoes recipe.
***This recipe is based off of a 14-16 lb turkey. If you purchase something larger I recommend you increase the butter to 1.5 sticks for your dry brine marinade, and your cooking time will definitely be at least 3 hours.
- If you choose a smaller bird, I still recommend sticking with the same measurements of spices. As you will see by the photos the Turkey I purchased was a smaller 10 lb bird, but I still used the same measurements listed above.
What You Will Do
For your turkey, I do what is called a dry brine. I find this adds the most flavor as the turkey tries to absorb the ingredients while it’s resting.
Day before cooking:
- Take the turkey out of the fridge, rinse off, and then dry. Remove neck and giblets from cavity.
- Soften all the required butter and combine with the spices. Once soft rub the mixture on the outside and under the skin by lifting the skin away from the meat as you massage this seasoned butter in (and yes you are correct that this is not a pleasant feeling). Use all the mixture.
- Fill the cavity with rosemary sprigs and whole cloves of fresh garlic (husk removed). Once done, put the turkey back in the fridge on a pan uncovered.
- Leave overnight.
Day of cooking:
- Take turkey out of the fridge. Place Turkey upside down in the roasting pan/rack.
- Chop up carrots and potatoes, then place them around bird and fill the bottom of the pan with enough chicken stock that it’s touching the turkey (I normally just pour in 1 full carton here). The breast meat of a turkey is normally the driest and the juicer meat, due to higher natural fat is found on the bottom (dark meat). Cooking the Turkey upside down allows the breast meat to stay moist while cooking the closest to your liquid.
- Cover the bird with tinfoil.
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Once oven reaches the correct temp, place your turkey in the oven on the bottom rack. Check every 30 minutes to fill pan with chicken stock as needed. You can baste it after the first hour so the butter has time to cook into the meat.
- At 2.5 hours (for a smaller turkey) to 3 hours (larger turkey) remove from the oven. Insert thermometer in the bird in the innermost part of the thigh and wing, as well as at the thickest part of the breast. If the temp reads 160° and looks to be rising leave out, as your turkey will continue to cook. 165° is the recommended “cook-to temp” for a turkey. However, you do want to be careful to not overcook as this will really dry the meat out.
- Leave covered with tinfoil outside of oven for 30 minutes to level off in temperature.
Then all you need to do is carve and enjoy. That’s it! Voila Too Easy Thanksgiving Turkey!!!!