Hi folk, this is Dawn.
Some of you have emailed or called about questions for roasting our pastured turkeys, so I thought I would share a few simple tips with all of you. I don't have a fancy recipe to share, but this is how I like to do it.
[Note from Edwin: Many of you have experience with turkey and even for those who don’t there are many helps online for turkey roasting. But, if you really want to know how my wife Dawn does our family Thanksgiving turkey... below are her personal instructions. Enjoy!]
Thawing: (3 to 7 days ahead)
- First of all, be sure to put your frozen turkey in the fridge to thaw well ahead of your Thanksgiving meal. The big ones take nearly a week to thaw.
- If you missed this step and you need to thaw your bird quickly, place it in a heavy paper bag (to prevent the outside of turkey from becoming too warm) and thaw at room temperature. It may take around 24 hours to thaw this way.
Prep on Roasting Day:
- Place the turkey in a roaster or pan at least 2 inches high to catch all the wonderful broth that accumulates during baking.
- Melt ¼ cup of butter and pour over turkey.
- Sprinkle with 1-2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar and 1 Tablespoon of salt. (Do not add water; the turkey will accumulate its own broth.)
- Cover with lid or tightly with foil. (Skin will not be crispy with this method.... See roasting tips for crispy skin later.)
Roasting: (Takes Roughly 4 hours.)
- Place your turkey in the oven.
- Set your oven temp to 400° and bake the turkey for one hour. This will quickly bring all the meat to a cooking temperature.
- Then reduce heat to 325° and roast another 3 hours… or until done at 175° internal temp of the turkey breast. A small or medium turkey may get done sooner than 3 hours. (A good way to test for doneness without a thermometer is to wiggle the leg in the joint slightly. If it is loose, the turkey is done. But don’t pull so hard that you disjoint the leg, especially if you want to serve the turkey whole!)
- During the roasting process, baste the turkey once every hour with the accumulated broth from the bottom of the pan. This will enhance the flavor and help to keep the meat moist.
Directions for a turkey with crispy skin... especially if you want a beautiful whole bird for your table!
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- Place the thawed turkey on a rack inside a pan or roaster.
- Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Mix 1/2 cup softened butter with 1 Tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- Rub the butter mixture all over the outside of the turkey.
- Roast uncovered to allow the skin to crisp up.
- Place in the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 350°.
- Bake 3 hours for a large turkey and at least 2 hours for a small to medium bird until tender and the internal temperature of the breast is 175°.
- The meat will still be juicy and tender on the inside!
- If serving immediately, allow to cool 15 minutes for easier carving.
- If serving later, loosen foil slightly so steam can escape. Cool, but don’t chill before carving.
- If serving whole…just put the bird on a platter and put it on the table! :)
- Bring 2 cups of the turkey juices/broth to a boil.
- Make a smooth paste of ¾ cup milk and ¼ cup flour.
- Slowly pour the milk/flour paste into the boiling broth, stirring vigorously until thickened and smooth.
- Season to taste with your choice of herbs or maybe just salt and pepper if you like. This is up to you. Just don’t burn your tongue when tasting the gravy!
- Freeze any leftover meat in small containers for later meals along with any leftover broth.
- Save all the bones to get the most of the precious nutrients from your pasture-raised turkey!
- The next day put all the bones into a pot, cover with water and simmer for 3-4 hours.
- Remove bones; pick off scraps of meat to add back to stock along with vegetables and herbs of your choice to make a delicious and nutritious soup.
Happy Thanksgiving and Best Wishes to all you cooks,
(AKA: Farmer Edwin's Wife)