Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey
Tim said that our turkey was probably the best he ever had. I attribute it to a high quality, fresh bird I ordered from our butcher in the Berkshires, brining the turkey, and the butter we used before roasting the turkey.
As a shortcut, I bought a brine mix from Williams-Sonoma:
Combine 1 1/2 cups of the brine mixture with 1 quart of water. In a small saucepan over high heat, allow the brine – water mixture to come to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until the brine dissolves, 5 to 10 minutes. Let the brine mixture cool to room temperature. In a large pot, combine the brine mixture and 4 quarts of buttermilk. We then put the bird and the buttermilk combo in a giant bag and put the bag in a big pot. We let the bird brine for about 18 hours.
Before you cook the turkey, discard the brine and rinse the turkey well inside and out. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Allow 1 stick of butter to come to room temperature. Combine butter with fresh thyme and parsley. Rub some of the butter under the skin of the breasts and the remainder all over the bird. This will produce a beautiful golden color and a tasty bird!
We followed the following roasting instructions from Williams-Sonoma:
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.
Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. If the breast begins to cook too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. After about 2 hours of total roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 4 hours.
Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.