There’s something scary about roasting a whole turkey. It’s big, it’s kind of pricey, and it isn’t something that gets made all the time. No one wants to eat dry, flavorless, or undercooked turkey. So when I finally decided that I was going to make one, I will admit to being extremely nervous. I had no experience with making something this large, and if it didn’t come out right, I wouldn’t know until I decided to serve it.
It was something I really wanted to try though, just to see if I could. So I did what I do best and I decided to research. I talked to those I knew personally who I knew had made turkey before and I learned their secrets; I looked up dozens of turkey recipes and took the parts that I liked. Armed with ideas and information, I took on this huge task, seasoned my turkey and stuck it in the oven. And then I prayed that it would work out as it was for a decent sized group of people, and my parents were in town.
The good news is it worked! The turkey was delicious and everybody had nothing but good things to say about it. The bad news is that it was pre-blog, so I didn’t write anything down and couldn’t quite recall what I had done with it. Given that turkeys are really only available during a specific time of year and that it’s too big to make on a regular basis, it would be a whole year before I tried it again. The second time was okay, but it wasn’t quite the same. In the meantime, I started the blog, and really wanted to share the recipe, so I decided to try a third time so I would have the recipe, and I’m happy to say the third time definitely was worth writing down.
In the end, the spice list was a little long, but it tasted good, so I’m sticking with it. I also used a meat thermometer that took care of the timing for me, a turkey bag so I didn’t have to worry about it drying out, and a set of turkey forks to lift they turkey out of the bag. I realize there’s a lot of different ways to do this, and I’d love to hear about your favorites. In the meantime, here’s my take on roast turkey.
1 (18 pound) turkey
3 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons dried thyme
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chicken base
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1. Clean the turkey by rubbing it with the lime, including the cavity. Rinse and pat dry.
2. Poke several small holes in to the turkey (you can use a fork or a knife)
3. Rub the turkey with the chicken base, including inside the cavity.
4. In a small bowl, mix the bail, rosemary, pepper, salt, sage, thyme, and garlic and set aside.
5. In a small pot, melt the butter on medium high heat.
6. Pour the melted butter in to the seasoning mix and stir well.
7. Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey, including inside the cavity.
8. Place 1/4 of the onion, 2 celery stalks, and 1 carrot inside the cavity of the turkey.
9. Sprinkle the bottom of a turkey size oven bag with flour.
10. Place the turkey and the remaining vegetables inside of the oven bag. Refrigerate overnight.
11. Preheat oven to 350° F.
12. Place the turkey bag in a roasting pan, poke several holes in the bag to let out steam, and bake the turkey for four hours, or until the internal temperature is 180° F.
13. Once the turkey is cooked, carefully remove from the bag and place on a serving platter. Save the juice for gravy!