The City Magazine Since 1975

Classic Roast Turkey from Ted’s Butcherblock

November 2023
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INGREDIENTS: 

1 whole, all-natural turkey, brined for at least 12 hours (recipe follows)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth Butter, at room temperature
Chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage (optional)
Whole garlic cloves (optional)
Lemon halves (optional)

For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. celery seed
2 Tbs. whole black peppercorns
2 Tbs. red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
4 Tbs. dried basil
4 Tbs. dried oregano
2 Tbs. cup granulated garlic
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 Tbs. fresh sage
1 cinnamon stick
1 (12 oz.) can frozen apple juice concentrate

DIRECTIONS: 

Remove turkey from brine (recipe and method follow), rinse, pat with paper towels, and place on a wire rack to dry completely and come to room temperature for one hour before roasting.

Position the oven rack to the bottom third of your oven, and preheat to 450°F.

Rub the skin with butter, and then sprinkle with herbs (optional). For added flavor, rub butter and herb mixture beneath skin as well. You can also add a few halved lemons and whole garlic cloves inside the cavity of the turkey.

Pour two cups of broth or water into the roasting pan and set the turkey on a rack. Place in the oven and reduce heat to 350°F. Cooking times vary per oven, but the general rule is 13 minutes per pound. To be sure, begin checking the temperature of your bird about halfway through the estimated cooking time.

Remove the turkey from the oven to baste every 45 minutes. Use a spoon or baster to drizzle the cooking liquids on top of the turkey. For extra crisp skin, use melted butter for the last basting (about 45 minutes before the end of estimated cooking time).

Check the temperature in three places: the breast, the outer thigh, and the inside thigh. All should be at least 165°F. If any are under temperature, continue cooking for 20 minutes and check again. If further cooking is needed for just one or two areas, cover the breast with foil to prevent overcooking.

Remove the turkey from the oven. Drain the juices from the cavity back into the roasting pan. Remove the turkey and rack and rest on a cutting board. Let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

For the brine:

Measure all ingredients into a large container. Add one gallon of hot water and stir. Once dissolved, add eight cups of ice and stir to melt. Submerge the turkey in the brine solution and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. (If the turkey cannot fully submerge, turn halfway through brining process.)

Pro Tips: 
- When ordering a turkey, calculate one and a half pounds per person or two pounds if you want leftovers. 
- “Brining is essential to bring out flavor and maximize tenderness and juiciness of a turkey,” says Ted’s Butcherblock owner Ted Dombrowski. 
- For best results when cooking, use a metal rack placed in a heavy open roasting pan. The turkey should fit snugly, but with enough room to catch any excess liquid. An average bird (16 pounds) will fit in a 16×12×3-inch pan.