Thanksgiving Tips and Recipe
Wondering how long to cook a turkey? Good news—there’s no need to babysit or baste a turkey for hours! This turkey recipe roasts an entire bird in an hour and a half. All you need to do is plan ahead for brining.
Keep these quick tips in mind to learn how to best cook your turkey:
Tip 1: Cook a turkey that weighs 14 pounds or less.
Larger birds require more time to roast, which means there is a higher likelihood of drying out the meat. Consider roasting a pair of turkeys if you decide to go beyond 14 pounds for the best and juiciest results.
Tip 2: Skip the stuffing and choose aromatics.
Sticking with aromatics makes it possible to impart delicious scents and flavors into the turkey meat while roasting. It also expedites roasting time.
Tip 3: Dry, oil and season the skin.
Crispy skin is possible with paper towels and oil. Remove as much moisture as possible from the skin of your turkey. Thereafter, use oil to coat the entire bird and season with salt and pepper. It’s all you need to cook up a flavorful and crispy exterior.
Tip 4: Avoid the thermometer.
To clarify, don’t pay attention to the thermometer that comes with the bird. You know, the plastic one that pops up notifying you the turkey is done. By the time it pops, your bird will likely be very dry after resting. Instead, remove your turkey from the oven when it reaches 161°F on a meat thermometer. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests.
Tip 5: Remember to rest.
Don’t allow the juices go to waste by carving your turkey right when it comes out of the oven. Allow your bird to sit on the roasting rack for at least 15 minutes under a loose foil tent. After that, carve your bird for the juiciest meat.
- 1 12-pound Fresh, all-natural young turkey, innards removed
- 1-gallon Low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup + 2 tsp. Light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. Black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. Allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp. Ground ginger
- 1 gallon Heavily iced water
- 1 Red apple, halved
- 1/2 White onion, sliced
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 1 cup Water
- 4 Rosemary sprigs
- 6 Sage leaves
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Create the brine by combining the vegetable broth, salt, brown sugar, black pepper, allspice and ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve the solids and bring to a boil. Then, remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
- On the night prior to serving, combine the brine with the iced water. Place the turkey—breast side down—in the brine, making sure it’s fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate (or set in a cool area) for 8–16 hours. Turn the turkey once halfway through brining.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F.
- Remove the turkey from the brine, making sure there is no excess liquid. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and set in a roasting pan using a roasting rack.
- Create the aromatics by combining the apple, onion, cinnamon stick and 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Discard the water and add the steeped aromatics to the turkey cavity, along with the rosemary and sage.
- Tuck the wings under the turkey and tie the legs with kitchen twine.
- Coat the turkey liberally with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast the turkey on the lowest level of the oven for 30 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350°F. Continue roasting for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer reads 161°F. If the skin begins to brown too quickly, lightly tent a piece of foil over the turkey.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Joanna is a commercial food stylist based in Phoenix, Arizona. Her work and recipes have been seen around the world. When she is not styling for her favorite brands, she enjoys publishing recipes and sharing her love of everything food on her self-titled blog many remember as Baked by Joanna. Her other interests include spending time with her family and staying healthy and fit.