How to Roast a Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Roasted Thanksgiving TurkeyWhether you’re roasting your first Thanksgiving turkey this year or you’re looking for a different recipe to try, this one is sure to please.

One of my favorite side dishes to include with the Thanksgiving turkey dinner is my homemade Tangerine (or Orange) Cranberry Sauce. This cranberry sauce recipe is also super easy and the most delicious I’ve ever had.

Note: it can take 2-3 days for a frozen turkey to thaw in the fridge, so plan ahead for this!

You will need:

  • 1 – 12 to 18lb Turkey, thawed with giblets and neck removed
  • 3 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 medium apple, halved
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 4 Tbsp butter, cut into four pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in two or three pieces each
  • 2 cups turkey broth
  • Optional: I like to add some chopped bulb fennel either in the cavity and/or in the stuffing, I typically prepare stuffing either on the stovetop or in a casserole dish and bake. Bulb Fennel adds a delicious flavor to all the other ingredients.

5 Easy Steps to Perfect Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving:

  1. At least four hours before roasting, rub turkey inside and out with sea salt and pepper; refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 45 minutes before roasting. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Set turkey in roasting pan fitted with a V-shaped rack. Slip your fingers under the turkey skin to loosen it. Rub butter over breasts. Stuff vegetables, apple and thyme into cavity. Tuck wingtips under bird (this prevents them from getting too crispy).
  3. Pour broth or water into pan, around bird. Put turkey in oven and roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325, baste turkey with pan juices, cover with a foil tent and return to oven. Cook for another 30 minutes. Remove foil, baste again and place foil back on turkey. Cook for 30 more minutes. Remove foil.
  4. When turkey has roasted for a total of two hours, insert a meat thermometer straight down into fleshiest part of thigh, where it meets drumstick. Check a second spot, then remove thermometer. (Do not let thermometer touch bone.) Thigh meat should reach no more than 165 degrees. Juices should run clear. (If bird is larger than 14 pounds, keep foil on longer and begin checking meat temperature at two and half hours.) To assure perfectly cooked white and dark meat, you may remove the bird when meat thermometer shows thigh temperature at 155, then remove legs and roast them separately for another 15 to 30 minutes, depending on size of bird.
  5. When bird has reached desired temperature, remove from oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes, covered in foil and with a damp towel on top of foil, to retain heat and allow juices to return to meat. Remove foil and towel and serve. Serves 8-12.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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