I like to keep a turkey in the freezer all the time. Why wait for November to cook the bird when we can make a festive meal anytime. It’s like having another holiday when we feel like making it a “holiday”. I found a picture of my 15 pound turkey from last Thanksgiving.
My first published post on my blog was August 1st, so I don’t have a bunch of gluten free, dairy free Thanksgiving recipes to share other than the few I have posted this month, including this turkey. I hope you enjoy these recipes, as they are quite fabulous. That turkey, pictured, came juicy and full of herb flavor from the seasoning rub, that there wasn’t any left the next day; can you imagine making a turkey and no leftovers?? I know, crazy! Good thing I had hot dogs in the freezer. Usually I have leftovers but for some reason not last year, now I make two turkeys for our hungry family.
I remember making my first turkey 12 yeas ago. I had such anxiety, such anticipation, not to disappoint my family. Well I must say, it was a very dry turkey despite my basting every 30 minutes at 350 degrees. After a couple of turkeys, I realized that if I cook my turkey the same as I roast chicken then it should come out juicy on the inside with a crispy skin on the outside. Ten years ago was the beginning of delicious roast turkey. No basting needed! It’s all in the correct oven temperature and not cooking straight out of the refrigerator. You will have an amazing turkey, every time!
While you and I are getting ready for this wonderful holiday, my website will be under construction (Wednesday the 21st) and getting a fabulous makeover with features you have been requesting like to print a recipe and being able to pin onto Pinterest! I am so excited. It should be up and running by December 1st (fingers crossed). By the way, check out my stuffing recipe. Until then, have a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving! See you in December…
More tips for roasting turkey and seasoning rub recipe below…
I season the turkey the day before, cover and refrigerate. I take it out of the fridge about an hour before cooking so that it cooks evenly.
Roasting two smaller turkeys rather than one big one gives more drumsticks and thighs, and it will cook more evenly. One very large turkey makes for dry dark meat.
If you are buying a turkey that has been brined then take the salt out of my recipe, and just sprinkle a little evenly on the skin
Defrost a frozen turkey 24 hours per 5 pounds. So a 15 pound turkey needs 3 days in the refrigerator. Sunday is the last day to buy a frozen turkey, as 15 pounds should be maximum for one turkey.
Organic is best from a health standpoint because of the feed and it’s Non-GMO. I know Costco and Whole Foods have Organic turkeys by us here in Southern California, check your local retailer.
Roast your turkey breast side down, this will keep your bird moist as the fattier side drips onto the breast meat.
Tie the drumsticks and push the wings down and under the breast. This helps prevent too much air circulation, which can give you a dry turkey.
No need to baste your turkey. I find this to just add more unnecessary fat particles on the turkey and does not make it any more moist. The rub seasoning will keep it moist.
Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer, should say 165 degrees F when done. You want to pull it out 5-10 degrees before the optimal cooking temperature because it will continue to cook while it is resting.
Many will say to roast the turkey at 350 degrees for 30 minutes per pound, yet I find this dries out the turkey and does not give a crispy skin (from experience!) I like to give a ballpark of about 15 minutes per pound or until my thermometer reads 165 degrees F in the thigh area where the thermometer will not touch bone. Then check in the area between the leg and thigh. DO NOT cut into the turkey to test if it is done, this will dry out the turkey!
Also, here is a link with photos on how to carve a turkey…
And a video …
Seasoning Rub (enough for a 12-15 pound turkey):
2 handfuls of fresh sage leaves, stems removed or 3 tablespoons dried ground sage
10 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoons kosher salt PLUS 2 teaspoons
3 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon crushed black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin), or grape seed oil
4 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Spread
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
Preheat the oven temperature to 425 degrees F with the oven rack on the lower third part of the oven.
Add all the rub ingredients into a mini food processor, except 2 teaspoons of salt. Mix until fully incorporated.
Place your turkey onto an oven roasting pan with the rack resting at least an inch above the pan.
Rub the seasoning all over the turkey including under the skin and the inside cavity, wherever you can reach (wearing latex free gloves will prevent the seasoning from getting under your nails!).
Cook at 425 degrees F for 1 hour then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F for 90 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F (with an instant read thermometer in the thigh away from the bone, and in the upper part of the breast). Without pressing down, loosely cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 40-50 minutes before carving.
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