Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

The perfect roasted Thanksgiving turkey

When it comes to roast turkey, there's not a lot of wiggle room in preparation. You're either brining, or roasting, or both. The only way to really mix things up is either to inject a marinade or tinker with what's on the inside, which is precisely what we've done with our turkey this year.

Fresh herb butter, citrus and a combination of flavorful aromatics are a guaranteed way to ensure that you'll have a turkey worth savoring and remembering well after your big meal.

To make the herb butter:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature with 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves, 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves.
  2. Mince two cloves of garlic and add to butter mixture.
  3. Remove butter from bowl and place on a sheet of plastic wrap. Form butter into a log and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preparing Your Turkey: Preheat oven to 450°F.  Set a rack inside a large roasting pan.  Pat turkey dry with paper towels.  Rub bird inside and out with salt and pepper.

Using the herb butter you’ve prepared, gently pull back the skin and slide pats of the herb butter underneath the skin against the turkey. Rub the mixture against the skin, thighs, legs and underneath. Rub the outside of the skin.

Quarter 1 medium onion, 1 orange and one lemon. Place them inside the turkey cavity.

Tuck tips of wings under bird (this prevents them from burning during the long roasting time). Pour 4 cups water into pan. Roast turkey, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Baste turkey with pan juices; add more water if needed to maintain at least 1/4" liquid in the bottom of roasting pan. Continue roasting turkey, basting every 30 minutes and tenting with foil if skin is turning too dark, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165°F (juices should run clear when thermometer is removed), about 2 3/4 hours total.

Transfer turkey to a platter. Tent with foil and let rest for 1 hour before carving.