Perfect Super Moist Turkey Recipe
The calendar has flipped to November and you know what that means, Thanksgiving! What is Thanksgiving without the star of the show, Perfect Super Moist Turkey.
Over the past few years on this blog, I have been able to share a number of my family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes:
and warm drinks/cocktails like my Crockpot Wassail Recipe.
Until today I have avoided sharing a recipe for turkey. For a couple reasons.
One. A whole turkey is INTIMIDATING. So many different places online saying do this. Don’t do that. It will make your head spin.
Two. I was still perfecting MY ingredients and the how-to process in order to ensure that this recipe really was the best I can post.
I’m happy to say through many trial and error on my part, I hope to ensure your first stab at a Thanksgiving turkey is a home run!
Perfect Super Moist Turkey Recipe – The Bird
It all starts with the bird.
I’m going to fall in the category most other food bloggers would cry hearing me tell you to do.
Buy a turkey that already has some sort of “solution” injected into it. Almost any store-bought turkey in the US already has this. The Butterballs, Jennie-O’s, etc usually already have a brine solution. You can check by reading on the side or ingredient list where it will say “Contains up to __% of a solution of water, salt, and natural flavorings”.
Why make sure this is included in your turkey?
Because this solution (a type of brine) helps to keep your turkey moist throughout the cooking process.
Turkey slices have a tendency to be dry pieces of sadness, but having an already brined bird, helps keep things juicy.
If you buy a bird “farm fresh” that does not include the store “sodium solution”. I would suggest trying your hand at making your own brine. My go-to girl, The Pioneer Woman, has shared her Best Turkey Brine that is a winner.
Also a big question surrounding turkey is, fresh or frozen?
I’ve used both, but find that I tend to lean towards frozen. It’s readily available and as long as I remember to thaw the bird in the fridge days in advance, it is just as delicious!
Perfect Super Moist Turkey Recipe – The Cooking Process
I’m not a fan of Thanksgiving stuffing that gets cooked in your turkey.
It slows down the roasting process, as well as, not adding much to the flavor of the bird.
But, I’m all for putting in some tasty vegs.
Onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and lemons, all work wonders at adding flavor to the turkey as it cooks.
Another key to a delicious, juicy turkey is to baste as it cooks.
Basting is also the key to delicious pan drippings and gravy!
I love the combination of melted butter, chicken broth, and a little bit of cooking sherry for this turkey.
Rich and flavorful, just as Thanksgiving and the holidays should be.
Or as I like to say.
Butter serves two purposes in this recipe.
Flavor and golden color.
It also serves as a vessel for the seasonings. I like to keep things simple, but effective.
Rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper. garlic powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and a hint of lemon juice.
I bake the turkey in a deep baking pan with roasting rack at a lower oven temperature.
To ensure that the turkey cooks, but doesn’t brown too quickly, I cover the bird with cheesecloth that has been dipped into the delicious basting liquid.
I keep the cheesecloth on until about the last hour of cook time. Then it gets removed to allow the turkey to turn a deep golden brown.
Making it magazine (or at least Instagram) worthy!
The only thing left to do is finish cooking, let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes while you finish all your Thanksgiving side dishes, carve, and serve!
Hopefully, this recipe will give you the courage to try your hand at wowing your guests (and yourself) with this beautiful and delicious turkey.
Watch out Martha Stewart, there is a new sheriff in town!
Perfect Super Moist Turkey Recipe
A How-To for the Perfect Super Moist Turkey Recipe. The best oven roasted Thanksgiving turkey that is easy, juicy, and full of herb flavor.
- 1 Turkey, fresh or frozen (thawed) *See Notes
- 1 Onion, cut into small wedges
- 2-3 Celery Stalks, rough chopped (3-4 inch pieces)
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Sherry
- 1 cup Butter, softened
- 1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary Leaves
- 1/2 Tbsp Dried Thyme Leaves
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- Dash Cayenne Pepper
- Splash Lemon Juice
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Add 2 cups of water to the bottom of a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack.
Tie turkey legs and tuck in wings.
Fill cavity of bird with onion and celery.
Place turkey onto roasting rack.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, then stir in chicken broth and sherry.
In a bowl, mix together softened butter, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice. Stir to combine
Rub 2/3 of the flavored butter under the skin, over the breast meat and drumsticks. Try not to rip the skin!
Spread remaining butter over the top of the turkey skin.
Cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to cover the top and sides of the turkey when folded once (there should be two layers of cheesecloth covering the bird).
Dip the cheesecloth in the basting liquid and then cover the turkey.
Place the turkey in the oven and bake 15-20 minutes per pound or until the thickest part of the thigh reads 165-170°F, basting every 30 minutes with warm basting liquid (I keep the saucepan with basting liquid on the stove and heat when necessary). *If you run out of basting liquid, start using the pan drippings to baste as the turkey finishes cooking.
Remove the cheesecloth about an hour before removing from the oven and baste well to brown the skin.
Allow the turkey to rest at least 20 minutes before slicing to allow juices to soak back into the meat.
- For a turkey that stays juicy during the cooking process it is best to either purchase a bird that has been injected with a sodium solution or brine it yourself.
- To save time, the butter rub (and even the basting liquid) can be made a few days in advance. Just remember to let it soften so it spreads easily!
- Add lemon slices, garlic, and carrots to bird cavity or stuff with your favorite stuffing.
- If cheesecloth sticks to the skin when you go to remove it at the end of the bake, baste well to release.
- Plan for extra time when baking! No one wants guests arriving to the party, and the turkey is still not fully cooked. Ovens are all different, stuffing and basting all change the timing of the bake. I usually plan an extra hour of “wiggle” room to ensure I do not run out of time.
- The pan drippings make GREAT gravy! Don’t be afraid to use it.
Did you make this recipe?
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