Ultimate Roast Turkey Recipe

By : | 2 Comments | On : November 24, 2010 | Category : Restaurant Recipes

The Perfect Roast Turkey

The Perfect Roast Turkey

Over the years, I’ve discovered there a couple of very important procedures you must follow if you want to present your family with an amazing roast turkey on the table this Thanksgiving.  If you follow these two top secret steps taken from the best restaurant recipes, you’ll be guaranteed to have what everyone wants on Thanksgiving, a stunningly beautiful and perfectly browned roast turkey which is still bursting with juice and flavor when you cut into it.

The first thing you absolutely must do, which most people have no clue about, is to brine your turkey.  Brining your food means you’re going to soak it for a good amount of time in a solution with a heavy concentration of salt.  Before you freak out thinking this is going to give you a turkey that’s way to salty, rest assured it doesn’t.  When you make up the brine solution the salt dissolves in the water and slowly penetrates the skin and meat, leaving a perfectly even flavor throughout.  Your turkey will have perfectly seasoned flavor all the way to the bone and you’ll have a nice crisp skin on the outside keeping the juices in the meat, where they belong, not at the bottom of your roasting pan.

The second secret to Chef Pablo’s Restaurant Turkey Recipe is the use of cheesecloth.  I learned of this secret item several years ago and we haven’t departed from it since. This step has you soaking cheesecloth in a special solution and then draping it over your turkey before you put it in the oven.  It stays on the turkey during the entire cooking time and serves a couple of purposes.  First of all, the cheesecloth will be instrumental in helping to self baste the turkey.  Usually when you baste a turkey during the cooking process, 99% of the juices you pour over the top, end up running off and back into the bottom of the pan.  With cheesecloth you have something on top of your turkey which will absorb the juice  and slowly release it as it cooks.  This will give you a much more even basting and require you to open the oven less often.  Cheesecloth also helps protect the skin from overcooking as you wait for the middle of the turkey to finish cooking.

Ok, so let’s get on with the recipe

Chef Pablo’s Restaurant Quality Roast Turkey Recipe
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Ingredients
  • 12-14 lb turkey (if yours is bigger, adjust the ingredients accordingly)
Brine
  • 7 qt of water (I prefer bottled or filtered water in all of my cooking)
  • 1 qt apple cider (not apple cider vinegar)
  • ¾ cup salt (use kosher salt for best results)
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 head of garlic (use the whole head, cut in half)
  • 1 handful fresh rosemary (you can use half of a plastic package)
  • 1 handful fresh sage (again, just a small handful or half a package)
  • 6 bay leaves
Herbed Butter Seasoning
  • 3 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 handful of fresh rosemary, finely chopped (you’ll need more in the next section too)
  • 1 handful of fresh sage, finely chopped (again, you’ll need more for the cheesecloth)
  • Kosher salt
Cheesecloth Seasoning
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups white wine
  • ½ handful of sage, finely chopped
  • ½ handful of rosemary, finely chopped
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Cheesecloth (use enough to create four layers over the turkey)
Additional Ingredients
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large onion
Instructions
Brine
  1. Combine all of the above brine ingredients in a container large enough to hold it all plus the turkey. I like to use a large stock pot, but make sure the liquid covers the turkey completely.
  2. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 1-3 days.
  3. Remove the turkey from the brine solution and pat it dry with paper towels.
Herb Butter Seasoning
  1. Combine the 3 sticks of butter with the rosemary, sage and season with a bit of the salt. Mix until well blended and smooth.
  2. Massage the turkey with the herbed butter mixture, making sure to get it under the skin and into the breasts and thighs.
  3. If the legs have a metal hook on them, remove it so you can get the butter all over. Once you’re done, you can reattach the clip to the legs to hold them together. Otherwise, using twine, tie the legs together over the cavity.
Cheesecloth Preparation
  1. Heat the butter, wine, and herbs in a saucepan over medium until the butter is completely melted.
  2. Place the cheesecloth into the butter and wine mixture and let it soak.
Turkey Roasting
  1. Preheat the oven to 450
  2. Place the turkey into a roasting pan breast side up and pour in the chicken broth and apple cider.
  3. Cut the carrot into approx 3 inch pieces and quarter the onion. Place both of these into the cavity of the turkey.
  4. Remove the cheesecloth from the butter and wine mixture and, without loosing too much of the liquids, drape it over the turkey, covering it completely.
  5. Place the turkey in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes. The cheesecloth will get very dark, but that’s fine.
  6. Reduce the oven temp to 350.
  7. Baste with some of the remaining butter wine mixture and return the turkey to the oven.
  8. Baste every 30 minutes with the butter and wine mixture until it’s gone then start using the juices in the bottom of the pan.
  9. Approximately 1 hour before your turkey should be done, remove the cheesecloth and baste again. Return to the oven. Baste again after 30 minutes.
  10. When the temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 165, the turkey is done. Do not rely on the little plastic pop up thing.
  11. Remove the turkey and place onto a cutting board and let sit for 30 minutes before you cut into it.
  12. Carve the turkey and transfer to a serving dish.
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2 comments
Bobbyq
Bobbyq

Most frozen turkeys already have a solution injected into them before freezing. How will the brining process affect the already brined, i.e. injected turkey?

Chef Pablo
Chef Pablo

Nothing is going to substitute for brining the night before. This not only will "inject" flavor into the turkey, it helps to seal the juices in when you cook it. That's one of the main reasons for the process. The injected solution isn't going to make the skin the same.