Now you`ve chosen your turkey, it`s time to get that baby ready to roast! I`m going to give you some basic ideas for roasting a turkey, but then I`ll share my special herb-garlic turkey recipe . . . one that actually had my mother-in-law asking me to do the turkey at the family get-together for Christmas this year . . . which is BIG, people, because my MIL is not very fond of me.
First of all, you`ll need to prepare your turkey. If it comes with a bag of giblets inside, make sure you take those out. You may want to rinse your turkey under running water just to clean it up a bit and then put it into the roasting pan. Now, your pan should be fairly large, you don`t want the turkey getting all deformed in there! The disposible aluminum pans are great, though I just line my roasting pan with tinfoil to make cleanupeasier.
Preheat your oven to 425º and then put that turkey in there. Most people use a meat thermometer stuck into the leg without touching the bone. The temperature inside the turkey needs to hit 160º. I personally don`t have a thermometer, but haven`t had any problems. Here is an approximate guide to cooking an unstuffed turkey.
8 lbs. = 1 hour
12-14 lbs. = 1.5 hours
16-20 lbs. = 2.25 hours
Stuffed turkeys will take even longer, but I prefer to cook the stuffing separately, myself.
On to the Garlic-Herb Turkey . . .
4 sticks margarine
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
2 tsp. dried sage
Blend all ingredients together with an electric mixer until the butter is uniform in color and texture.
Now comes the hard part. Not really. Starting at the opening in the turkey, slide your fingers carefully under the skin, breaking the connective tissues. You may need to use a butter knife to help with this part. Avoid tearing holes in the skin, though if there is a little one, it`s not a big deal.
Loosen all the skin, right around the turkey, including the legs. Now, take a big gob of the garlic-herb butter and push it under the skin with your fingers. Rub it right into the flesh. Do this with all the butter, trying to get it fairly evenly distributed under the skin on both sides of the turkey. Again, precision isn`t vital.
The final step is to give your turkey a massage. Just gently rub it on the outside of the skin, smoothing out the lumps of butter until the turkey is fairly evenly covered.
Now, put your bird in the roasting pan, breast side up. You may want to tie the legs together with string at this point, to keep them from flopping down. Put the turkey in the oven and let it roast. Check toward the end of the time to see if the skin is burning. If it is, you can lay some tinfoil over top to prevent this.
I recommend making the turkey ahead of time and letting it sit for up to an hour before dinner. This lets the butter soak in a bit and gives you time to use the oven for side dishes, which we`ll be covering over the next week and a half. You`ll have a tender, tasty turkey with crispy, buttered skin and a lovely garlic flavor.Print or share this recipe using the icons above!