Hello, my lovely turkeys! It’s only FOUR days until Thanksgiving! I love thanksgiving so much. I love how it’s so universal. It doesn’t matter what religion you practice, how old you are, what country you’re from, or what have you. If you are here in the great U S of A then you get to celebrate one of the greatest days of the year. Thanksgiving!
And since it’s only four days away that means one thing. Okay, it means a few things…but most of all it means it’s time to take the turkey out of the fridge and start letting it thaw. I just transferred mine this morning. *happy dance* Maybe you order a fresh turkey and have it delivered, or maybe you are like me and buy a frozen one in the supermarket a few weeks before, either way it’s time to start thinking about delicious, warm from the oven, juicy, perfectly golden turkey.
It seems everywhere I look I see recipes and techniques for turkey brine. Everyone claims it makes your bird amazingly moist and there is no other way to make thanksgiving dinner. But here’s the truth. I can’t brine my turkey. I live in a tiny apartment in the bay area and my kitchen is small. SMALL. I don’t have room to cover my whole turkey in brine and then keep it in the fridge. At first, this made me incredibly sad. My thanksgiving day would be less than perfect because of my lack of kitchen space? I couldn’t live with that. So I became determined to make a wonderfully perfect thanksgiving turkey without needing to brine it.
And wonder of wonders, I DID. When I made this turkey I took a vote and the whole family agreed that it was just as good (and even better, even) than the brined turkey from last year. SO! If you too are confined to a small kitchen this year, or you don’t have enough time or energy to brine your turkey you can still reign Supreme of the Amazing Thanksgiving Dinner. Life is good and there is much to be thankful for.
This turkey is gooo-od. You start with a mix of fresh and dried herbs, butter, and a few aromatic fruits and veggies stuffed in the cavity to make the bird moist and flavorful. As it cooks, you start to glaze the outside with maple syrup which helps it turn a beautiful golden brown and add a little sweetness to the crispy skin that is so delicious there won’t be enough to go around. Finish it off with a generous helping of homemade maple cider gravy and ooh! I’m getting hungry already.
Go ahead and read through the whole recipe to get an idea of cooking time, and how to work the logistics of turkey cooking in general. Remember, it isn’t any more difficult than roasting a chicken! So relax, cooking the turkey is actually one of the easier tasks of thanksgiving dinner. You still need to worry about those pies and table settings, amirite? Plus, if you want a few more tips check out thekitchn’s turkey post here. They have a few handy pictures and tips if you get stuck, It’s super helpful. Happy Bird Baking!
- 1 Turkey (8 to 12 lbs)
- 4 sprigs thyme
- ½ stick butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 whole lemon, quartered
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 apple, sliced
- ½ onion
- Cinnamon stick
- Sage leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- Prepare the turkey for roasting. Make sure it is completely thawed first, then half an hour before you are set to start roasting, remove the packaging and the giblets inside. Arrange the turkey breast side up on a roasting rack over a roasting pan. Preheat the oven to 450.
- Mix paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, pepper, and salt and sprinkle some inside cavity. Set rest aside.
- Melt butter and stir with lemon juice and zest.
- Stuff the cavity with the sprigs of thyme, rosemary, cinnamon stick, lemon quarters, onion, apple slices, and garlic cloves. Brush turkey with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining spice rub rub.
- Pour chicken broth into the bottom of your roasting pan and place the turkey on the bottom third rack in your oven. Decrease the temperature to 350.
- You will roast according to bird size (the standard is 15 minutes per pound. I have an 8 pound turkey so I will roast it for a complete time of 2 hours). Every 30 minutes baste the turkey with the broth. After you've basted it twice, brush a layer of maple syrup over turkey after every basting from then on. Continue to brush throughout the roasting,
- Cook the turkey, testing temperature half way through the cooking time to gauge how fast the bird is cooking. I test in three separate places, the breast, the outer thigh and the inner thigh. All of them should read at at least 165 degrees in order to be "done".
- Brush the last of the maple syrup right after removing turkey from the oven and let rest 15-20 minutes before carving.