I hate dry turkey. It’s part of the reason why I’m not really wild about Thanksgiving, and always WAY more excited for all the delicious, carb-filled side dishes. Anyways, since it’s tradition to eat turkey, I’ve committed myself to cooking the juiciest bird possible. There has been lots of experimenting going on, and I’m happy to say I nailed the perfect recipe!
For my dress rehearsal this past weekend, I took a standard 10 lb turkey and did the normal 2 day brine of equal parts salt, sugar in water with tons of fresh herbs. The brining helps break down the meat, making it super juicy. Pretty standard in turkey roasting.
To add juiciness from the outside, I covered the turkey with a fresh herb citrus butter that also seeps into the meat and skin for extra juicy flavor while it roasts. Believe me, it’s so good.
The next thing I did was stuff the cavity of the turkey with my secret ingredient…a half a grapefruit. You may think it’s strange but this totally works! I typically stuff my roast chickens with lemon halves to add flavor and moisture to the bird. The grapefruit has tons more juice and is perfect for adding more tart juiciness to the large bird. It also has more juice then a bunch of lemons (and less rind) making it just perfect. To round out the flavor I also added in extra citrus of a half of a lemon and lime.
Seriously though, to get the moistest turkey I would a) buy a grapefruit b) don’t be afraid of butter and c) buy a meat thermometer. This turkey is definitely worth taking center stage this Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy!
- 1 10-12 lb turkey, defrosted
- 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup of chopped fresh rosemary, sage, thyme
- More springs rosemary, sage, and thyme for garnish (about 8 sprigs each separated in half)
- 1 tbs of salt
- 2 tsp of black pepper
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 lime
- ½ grapefruit cut in half
- ½ lime cut in half
- ½ lemon cut in half
- 1 bulb of garlic, with the top cut off
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of kosher salt
- 1 tbs of black peppercorns
- To make the brine, in a large stock pot, fill halfway with water and add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup of salt and peppercorns. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt.
- Place your turkey in the stock pot and cover the entire turkey with water.
- Add black peppercorns and half of the sprigs of fresh herbs.
- Place in the refrigerator and brine for 24-48 hours.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry.
- Set the turkey in a large roasting rack.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 stick of butter with 1 tbs of salt, 2 tsp of black pepper with ½ cup of chopped herbs, lemon and lime zest. Stir to combine.
- Using a spatula, carefully smother the butter mixture all over the turkey, getting it all over its crevices.
- Insert the lime, lemon, garlic and grapefruit into the cavity of the turkey.
- Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes and reduce heat down to 350 degrees.
- Cook for about 15 min per lb or when the internal temperature (taken at the thigh or breast) reaches 165 degrees. This is KEY.
- However, at the 160 degree mark, place the ½ stick of butter on the top of the turkey breast and allow the butter to melt all over the bird.
- Once the temperature reaches 165 degrees, remove the turkey from the oven and gently tent the bird with tin foil and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.
- Add the remaining sprigs of herbs inside the cavity for garnish. Sprinkle with extra herbs on the outside for extra garnish.
- Carve and eat!