Your First Turkey
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Hello, this is Chef John from Foodwishes.com with Your First Turkey. That’s right! A completely technique-free turkey procedure for beginners and first-timers. And even though this procedure is pretty much technique free and ultra-simple, it still guarantees you a magazine cover quality bird every time. So, here we go.
I want you to take a large roasting pan or baking dish big enough to fit your turkey. And in the bottom, you’re gonna (going to) lay in one one sliced up onion, one sliced up carrot, and one chopped up rib of celery. Just put it in the bottom, that’s it.
You’re gonna take your turkey, unwrap it, rinse it off. You see the paper towels? I want you to pat it nice and dry, inside and out. Now, we’re not gonna mess around with any of the innards. This is just about roasting a turkey. So I cut off the tail – sometimes it’s cut off for you – it’s mostly fat. And then take out the bag of gizzards and the neck. And of course, don’t throw that away. You can check out our video about making gravy. But this video is not about that. This is just about the bird.
Alright, step one here. I’m gonna take my seasoning mix. That’ll be on the blogpost. Basically, just salt and pepper, and we’re gonna generously season the inside cavity. Okay? I guess that’s redundant. There’s no outside cavities. Okay, you’re gonna season the inside, and then I’m gonna really have to have you do this for sure.
There’s nothing more grotesque and disturbing in the culinary world than those burnt turkey wing tips sticking up in the air. God, I hate those. So please, fold your wings underneath like this. It will look better; it will sit flatter. And I personally will feel a lot better.
Alright, so our turkey is pretty much ready for the final steps. I’m gonna have you melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a small sauté pan. Alright, use medium heat, and when the edges just start to turn golden, you see just a little color around the outside, then you’re gonna toss in a handful of sage and rosemary leaves. Alright, once the herbs get tossed in, I want you to cook it in that hot butter for sixty seconds, no more, no less. So, we are basically just making a quick and easy herb butter.
Alright, turn off the heat and then with tongs I want you just to fish out the herbs themselves, alright. They’re whole, so they’re easy to grab. And you’re just going to stick that inside the cavity. While the turkey roasts that will kind of set things from the inside out.
Alright, we’re gonna tie the legs together. Just take some butcher’s string. Or you could always use dental floss (true story). Alright but just tie the legs together just like that, nothing fancy.
Alright, I’m on to my next step, which is my favorite, because I get to paint a turkey with butter. Alright, come on, what part of that doesn’t sound fun? So, you’re gonna take that herb butter that we sizzled that sage and rosemary in and we’re gonna paint the entire surface of the turkey, and that’s really the secret to getting that amazing magazine-cover look.
Alright, after that’s covered, we’re gonna take our seasoning mix, our salt and pepper mix, and we’re gonna season the outside very generously. Alright, so pretty much any exposed surface should have some salt and pepper on it. Alright, don’t be afraid to turn it to get the sides and those little crevices. And once it’s seasoned your work is done.
Pop it into a three hundred twenty five degree (325ᵅ) oven and don’t do anything to it. No basting, no foil, no pricking, no nothing! Just let it cook. A rule of thumb, about fifteen minutes per pound approximately, but you can’t go by that. Use your thermometer. I think mine is done. When the middle of the thigh registers about 170 -175ᵅ, and that’s it. Some books and some websites are going to say 175-180ᵅ. Alright, up to you. I like it a little lower than that. So mine was about thirteen and a half pounds. Alright, and took about three and a half hours or so, approximately.
Now all those beautiful juices underneath the turkey you’re of course gonna pour that into your gravy, or make a gravy out of that. You can check out that video if you’re not sure. Now you want to let that fifteen, twenty minutes at least. So that’s perfect. You can bring all the rest of the stuff to the table. Reheat your side dishes and so forth.
And then, listen to this. Oh, yeah. Alright, that beautiful brown skin, the meat still moist and tender. Now, I’m not saying it’s bad to brine and smoke and fry and do all those other tricks. No problem, you can do that if you want. I’m not against all those fancy techniques. You just don’t have to do them. And if you’re just starting out, forget it! Just do this simple method, and then next year maybe you try something a little more adventurous. I mean, come on, look at that. That is a magazine cover. You did that! I cannot believe you did that. Actually I can totally believe you did that, because it’s easy.
Anyway, I hope that helps. I hope you have a great holiday. Go to foodwishes.com for all the final details and more information as usual. And as always, enjoy!