Super Moist and Tender Oven Roasted Turkey… in 3 simple steps.
Imagine for a moment it is 3:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day… everyone is at your house and they are not just hungry but STARVING. You tried to buy yourself a little time in the kitchen by plying your family and friends with cheese and crackers, perhaps some hot appetizers and tuned the TV to the football game for good measure. But the clock it ticking and it is almost dinner time, a tiny bead of sweat starts to form on your brow as you pull the turkey out of the oven. It smells WONDERFUL but a little voice in your head is making you worry, “sure it smells good but will it be juicy or dry?”
This is a big worry for a lot of people… but don’t worry Mamma Rocks the Kitchen has your back!
Our Super Moist and Tender Turkey recipe is a surefire win… yes, it will be juicy and yes it will be flavorful. So follow our easy 3 step recipe and tell that little voice in your head to take a hike!
Now truth be told I am not a turkey lover… neither is my family. I have never had luck making a juicy turkey… over the years I have eaten PLENTY of dry flavorless birds, whether at Thanksgiving, Christmas or when I impulsively buy a turkey on sale because the deal was, “too good to pass up!”
I am sure you have had the same experience I have had, every year I’m in the grocery store and I can’t look away from the wonderful sale prices on turkeys – you know the ones…. 57 cents a pound or spend 100 dollars and get a free turkey – whatever the case may be sometimes it’s just too good of a deal to pass up, but then I get it home and throw it back in the freezer without a clue as to how I’m going to get my red meat eating family to eat it.
Well all of that changed about a year ago when I took a tip from my husband, “Brian the BBQ Guy”. You see he has always kept an injector on hand for his smoked pork and beef and he suggested that we inject the heck out of our turkey to give it flavor, hey it works for some of the most difficult beef and pork on the BBQ why not with turkey? Of course, we went back and forth on what kind of seasoning mixture we would use for the injection but we finally got it! We nailed down an injection recipe that makes turkey juicy and delicious AND is soooo easy to make. Let me just say we are still not huge turkey fans, but this was THE best home cooked turkey we have ever had. It was juicy and full of flavor.
This past week we used this exact recipe for a food tasting we had for our new catering company (www.mammarocks.net) and EVERYONE who came raved about how juicy and delicious this turkey was. So I can tell you that the awesomeness of this recipe is NOT just my opinion.
If you are looking for a great turkey recipe that everyone will enjoy look no further… this is it.
Like I said, the key to making our juicy and tender turkey is the injection we use.
The full details of the recipe are below, but you will need a good quality injector to make this happen. We used (and my husband swears by) the Grill Beast… you can check out their website here: https://shop.grillbeast.com/products/beastinjector?variant=1108248229 or you can order it through Amazon by clicking here:
It is an excellent tool for this recipe as well as brisket, pulled pork and all sorts of recipes.
Just follow the directs for the injector and you are well on your way.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to make your turkey DELICIOUS:
Don’t wash your turkey – Yes, I know right… who would have thought. It seems contradictory but you don’t want to try and wash your turkey, we are actually causing more potential of cross contamination by doing so. Think about it, when you are washing the turkey all the water hitting the turkey is also splashing onto your floor, your counters, on your cloths, on your hands not to mention making your sink a target rich environment for all kinds of food borne illness and bacteria. Instead simply remove the turkey from it’s packaging, pat it down with paper towels inside and out and move on my friend. The proper cooking of turkey (having it reach and internal temperature of 165 degrees) is your BEST defense against any bacteria that may be on your turkey.
Don’t thaw your frozen bird on a counter top – It is tempting to do so, but don’t pop your frozen bird on the counter to thaw… this is a surefire way to get yourself and guests sick. The “danger zone” for bacteria growth is highest between 70 degrees and 125 degrees, in this range bacteria explodes and thawing on the counter WILL put you in the danger zone! Instead, place your frozen turkey on a sheet pan and pop it in the fridge, preferably on the bottom shelf with nothing being stored underneath it. Depending on the size of your turkey it should defrost within 3 days or so… oh, and make sure your fridge is set between 39 and 40 degrees. The best way to make sure your refrigerator is cool enough or set properly is to use a refrigerator thermometer like this one:
Do use a thermometer – Even if your turkey has one of those pop up things that are supposed to tell you when your bird is cooked through do yourself a favor and use a thermometer. You want to make sure your bird is properly cooked and there are so many variables that could help it cook faster or slower. Better safe than sorry.
Do let your turkey rest for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing – hey, no one wants to go to the ER on Thanksgiving and no one wants to get burned…. But EVERYONE wants a nice juicy turkey. The best way to do that is to let your bird rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices in the bird to redistribute and not run out of the bird all over your cutting bard AND will also be more manageable heat wise when slicing.
Do save your turkey juices from the pan – You can transform ordinary store bought turkey gravy into a delicious home style gravy by mixing in the pan drippings and juices from your cooked turkey. Instruction below.
Don’t buy a turkey rack – Save your money! Instead use a few stalks of celery as a natural rack. It will add really nice flavor to the pan drippings and is environmentally friendly.
There you have it folks… my little story about turkey and a few Dos and Don’ts for your Thanksgiving turkey… enjoy!
Kris, AKA “Mamma”
- One turkey (14 to 20 pounds)
- 4 whole ribs of celery washed
- 1 carrot peeled and washed and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic peeled whole
- 1 medium yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 2 tablespoons butter reserved and softened
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- Mix all ingredients for the injection together in a small pot over low heat to melt butter and incorporate all ingredients. Remove from heat; using a small wire mesh strainer, strain the injection mixture into a bowl – this will remove any granulated seasonings to make the injection smooth. Allow mixture to cool to room temp or if you are in a rush make an ice bath to cool mixture down. This is done by placing ice and a small amount of water in a large bowl and placing the injection mixture (which is in a smaller bowl) on top of the ice; set it aside to cool stirring the mixture occasionally until it reaches room temp.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and make sure the oven rack is set up in the middle. Your turkey will cook for approximately 20 minutes a pound and needs to reach a temp of 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds as read by an instant read probe thermometer.
- On a large sheet pan covered with aluminum foil open the packaging of your thawed turkey and remove the turkey placing it on the foil line sheet pan. Using paper towel pat the outside and the inside of the turkey dry. Make sure that you remove giblet pack from cavity.
- In a large roasting pan place the four celery ribs rounded side up a few inches apart - this is going to serve as our roasting rack. Next place the turkey on top of the celery; then put ½ of the quartered onion and the 2 cloves of garlic and one quarter of the carrot inside the cavity of the turkey. Tie the legs together with butcher string (this can be found in most grocery stores but make sure it is cotton string labeled butcher string).
- Place the rest of the carrots, onion and garlic in the pan around the turkey - this will give the turkey a wonderful flavor and a great base for your gravy.
- At this point we are ready to inject the turkey with the injection mixture - make sure you cover as much of the turkey as you can with the injector; you will see the turkey puff up as you inject.
- Take the reserved butter and lightly rub all over the turkey; season the top of the turkey with salt and pepper to taste or your favorite seasoning mix.
- Tent the turkey for the first hour with foil and place it in a preheated 350 degree oven. After the first hour remove the foil to start basting; you with want to keep up with basting the turkey every 20-30 min and check to make sure the skin is browning evenly. You can turn the pan during the cooking process to try to help the turkey brown evenly. If you notice the turkey browning to fast recover a foil tent. When the turkey is a golden color recover with foil until the last 30 minutes of cooking time. This is something that takes a little patience but it will pay off. You will know the turkey is done when you take the temp in more than one place and it registers 165 degrees.
- When turkey is at temp remove from the oven; remove turkey from roasting pan and let rest on board or platter for 20 min (at least) before carving. Do not throw away the pan juices! We are going to use them to add extra flavor to our gravy; remove the vegetables from the turkey pan and pour off the juices into a pot or fat separator then into a pot. Simmer pot of turkey juice goodness to add wonderful flavor to your favorite store bought gravy… add all or some of this goodness to your store bought gravy depending on how much you love gravy you will want 2 - 4 jars or cans, now you have a homemade tasting gravy that is not only delicious but soooo easy to make.
- Finally, carve your turkey and enjoy!