In many ways the turkey is the easy part of thanksgiving provided a few basics are adhered to. I have tried just about every method known for roasting and serving a whole turkey. High heat, low heat, wrap in cheesecloth and soak in butter, bacon on the breasts, wet brine, dry brine, stuffed, not stuffed. The list is endless. However, I have settled on the simplest approach that I have found so far. And now having done it 2 years in a row, I am hooked. 2011 we did a small one (12 or so lbs). This year a monster (22+lbs) Diestel. It is (of course) the well named “Judy Bird” which I found here. What I am about to describe is my take on that – including the inimitable Alton Brown’s method of trussing the bird. My goal is to produce a perfectly cooked bird that could grace the cover of a magazine. And yes, the pic above is the one we did this year - the picture kindly taken by my friend Jim Brewer.
5T Kosher salt (master recipe calls for 1T for every 5lbs of turkey)
3 large yellow onions
½ head celery
6 large carrots
1 lemon quartered
1T unsalted butter
3T flour (more or less as needed)
Cooking time should be (in total) less than 12 minutes/lb. But you are advised to pay attention to the rate at which it is cooking. Use a probe thermometer to ensure that you are doing it right! See this post. That's why I am so opposed to the little pop ups. You want to know when it will be done, as well as when it is done!