There’s nothing quite like a well-seasoned turkey coming to golden-brown perfection in my roaster to bring tears to my eyes. The smell alone reminds me of my Grandmother Smith, God bless her, clomping around her kitchen (she was not the most graceful) tending to the Thanksgiving turkey and many side dishes in preparation for dinner.
I mentioned in another post (When Maturity Strikes) that our son, Joshua, earned his first turkey at his first job. My husband received a turkey from work for our Thanksgiving dinner, so Joshua willingly saved his for Hanukkah. He quizzed me on my intended preparation including seasonings and made me promise him that it would turn out juicy. Based on the way we ravaged the poor bird, I believe I achieved success. Here’s the kicker: I don’t have a single picture of this culinary masterpiece.
My recipe is classic, simple, and tasty. I know deep frying, brine baths, and flavor injections are popular, but I chose to keep it teenager-friendly. It was, after all, his turkey.
Joshua’s Thanksgiving Turkey
1 proudly earned turkey, approximately 23 pounds
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into eight pieces
½ stick unsalted butter, softened
½ T parsley
½ T rubbed sage
½ T rosemary
½ T thyme
½ T sea salt
½ T black pepper
3 – 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 cans chicken broth
I started with a fully defrosted turkey that I rinsed, trimmed, and patted dry. You will not need the giblets, neck, liver, gizzard, or heart for this recipe. I worked with the turkey breast side up in my roaster.
Mix all the seasonings except the paprika. Dip the cold pats of butter into the seasoning mixture on both sides and gently shoved beneath the skin of the turkey. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the meat enough to place the butter. Two pats on each side of the breast for a total of four, and two beside each of the legs also totaling four. You will not use all of the seasonings for this.
Rub the surface of the turkey with the softened butter. Sprinkle the surface, taking care to get the legs and wings, with the remaining seasoning mixture. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Cut the ends off the lemons and quarter them lengthwise. Place all eight sections of lemon and the peeled garlic cloves in the cavity of the turkey.
Tuck the wing tips beneath the turkey so they don’t burn. Add two cans of chicken broth to the roaster. Do not pour them over the turkey, or the seasonings will be rinsed off.
How to Roast is a good guideline to follow, however, keep in mind there are slight differences between cooking in a roaster versus an oven. My advice is to stay with your turkey if it’s your first time and also because you’ll want to baste it throughout the cooking process. Once your turkey is cooked to golden-brown perfection, allow it to sit for ten minutes before serving and carving.
**If you don’t have a half tablespoon measure, the equivalent is 1 1/2 teaspoons.