Deep frying the Thanksgiving turkey has become a big fad. Many people swear this is the only way to prepare the bird for the big feast. They claim that deep frying will give you a crisp outside, juicy meat and be the best turkey you will ever eat. However, there are horror stories about deep frying the turkey. There are the stories about the guy who burned down the house or garage. Then there’s the guy who flooded the kitchen with hot cooking oil while trying to deep fry the bird.
Even if your house survives you still need to do something with the gallons of used cooking oil. Then you need to clean up the fryer. This has to be the messiest method of cooking the turkey. There has to be a better way but still achieve similar results.
I have developed a method of roasting the turkey which gives you the same crispy skin and juicy meat which you would get if you deep fried the bird. An added bonus to my method is that you get to add flavors and seasonings. This is an easy to follow method which you can also use with roasting chicken, goose, or duck.
Choose a good quality butter with a high percent of butterfat at least 85% so you will have less water to contend with.
1 Pound Butter
10 Cloves Garlic
5 tbs. Poultry Seasoning
4 tbs. Black Pepper
1 Bunch Fresh Rosemary
1 Bunch Fresh Basil
In a heavy sauce pan melt one pound or four sticks of butter. Grate the garlic cloves and add to the melted butter. Add 2 tbsp. of poultry seasoning and 1 tbsp. of black pepper. Stir until all ingredients are mixed. Do not allow butter to brown.
Take five heavy re-sealable plastic freezer bags. (The ones with the zippers do not work) Pour an equal amount of the seasoned melted butter into each and roll the top down so all liquid is at the bottom forming a log. Place into the freezer and freeze at least overnight. I always try to keep at least one or two of these rolls in the freezer ready to season a chicken or to use a piece in other dishes.
Make certain your turkey is thoroughly defrosted. Untie the legs. Mine always come with a plastic contraption holding the legs together. This can be taken off and then put back on. Wash the bird carefully removing any feathers that still remain. Take your fingers and carefully separate the skin from the flesh of the bird without tearing the skin. Leave the skin in place, what you want to create are pockets. On the thighs and legs cut one inch slits and carefully separate the skin to make pockets.
Take your frozen butter mixture and slice the logs into pieces about one half inch thick. Place these slices into the pockets you have created. Take one log out of the freezer at a time. You will want to completely fill the entire cavity that you have created with the frozen butter mixture.
Combine the remaining poultry seasoning and black pepper and rub into the turkey. If you need more use more. Place a few of the remaining butter slices into the open breast cavity of the turkey and then push in the fresh basil and rosemary. Reattach the legs or tie them securely and your Turkey is ready for the oven.
I bake the turkey for fifteen minutes per pound at 325 degrees. The last thirty minutes I turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Your meat thermometer should register 180 degrees when inserted into the inner thigh of the turkey. Start basting the turkey after about two hours or when a sufficient amount of liquid forms in the bottom of the pan. Keep the bird moist with frequent basting.
Take the turkey out of the oven immediately after it has reached this temperature. Allow the turkey to rest for at least twenty to thirty minutes before carving.
I always prepare the turkey the day ahead of Thanksgiving. This way I have all the mess and fuss out of the way when the guests arrive. The bird is carved and waiting in the Nesco and I never worry about having it done in time.