One 10 lb. Turkey (neck and gizzards reserved)
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt (per 10 lbs of bird)
1 Head of Garlic – halved through its equator (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. Thyme
1 Lemon – quartered
1 Onion – peeled and quartered
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) Butter
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth or stock/broth, or Turkey Stock
The day before roasting, rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water, set on a clean kitchen towel, and pat dry. Season the turkey inside and out with the salt. Place in refrigerator uncovered overnight.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours prior to roasting to bring to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F with the oven rack set on the lowest rung.
In the turkey’s neck cavity, place 1/2 of the onion, and 2 quarters of the lemon. Wrap the neck skin over and around the cavity to enclose.
In the body cavity, place the other half of the onion, and 2 quarters of the lemon.
Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack set into a large roasting pan. Fold the wings and tuck the tips underneath the bird.
Now you will make compound butter with 2 sticks softened butter, 1/2 tsp. thyme, and lemon zest, juice of half a lemon, and a tsp. kosher salt and pepper. Carefully separate the skin from the turkey by sliding your fingers between the skin and the flesh, and using your hands or a spoonula, push the butter back as it back as far as it will go under the skin, and then and spread it around under the skin (save some for the outside of bird). Then smear what’s left all over the outside of the bird.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt one stick butter with 1 14.5 oz. can of stock/broth. Add the lemon and 1 tsp. thyme to the pot with the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so that the liquid simmers, and continue to cook at a lower simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
When cool enough to handle, soak a double layer of cheesecloth big enough to cover the bird in the butter mixture and drape over the breast and legs of the turkey. Pour the remaining contents of the pan over the bird. Add the neck and gizzards to the bottom of the roasting pan if desired.
Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 45 minutes (there will be the possibility of smoke depending on how clean your oven is). Turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F, and continue to roast according to the chart below, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a thigh registers 165 degrees F. Remove the turkey from the oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving.
Note: For bigger turkey, increase the measurements of herbs and onions/lemons, etc.
10 to 18 pounds – 3 to 3-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds – 3-1/2 to 4 hours
22 to 24 pounds – 4 to 4-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds- 4-1/2 to 5 hours
The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.
The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.
When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.