Lemon Thyme Turkey
So now it's time for the fun part. Let's get that bird ready for it's big debut. So you're probably wondering why I didn't have you prep your turkey for the brine. Well, I personally prefer a non-brined turkey. I feel brined turkeys just taste watered down. When you chose not to brine it, it actually tastes like turkey. So, it's your call. Remember, the turkey gravy is supposed to be a nice flavor booster, not a mask for covering up dry turkey. The most important part is checking the temperature of your turkey. Remove it from the oven and close the oven door, do not check the temp of it in the oven. The turkey pop up timers are not the greatest of guides either. So make sure you have a good thermometer!
Ingredients: 1 14 lb. whole fresh, turkey, thawed 6 T. unsalted butter, softened 1/4 c. fresh thyme, chopped 2 T. grated lemon zest 1 1/2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. black pepper 5 thyme sprigs 2 lemons, halved 1 onion, quartered cooking spray 1/2 c. water Kitchen twine Directions: Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Make sure you have removed the package on the other side of the turkey. Mine was hidden in the backside. I almost missed it. Do not forget that part. lol That would be a disaster. Pat the turkey dry and preheat the oven to 425. Combine butter, chopped thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a bowl. Starting at neck cavity, loosen the skin from the breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers and gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub the mixture under the loosened skin. Lift the wing tips up and over back; tuck under the turkey. Place the thyme sprigs, onion, lemon in the cavity. Secure the legs with kitchen twine. Coat the roasting pan and rack with cooking spray. Place the turkey neck underneath the rack and place the turkey on the rack in the pan. Add 1/2 c. of water to the pan. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes. Baste with some more softened butter or oil. After the 45 minutes is up, reduce the oven temperature to 350. Cook at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Rotate the turkey from front to back and baste again. Check the temperature. Continue baking at 350 for 10 to 20 minutes more. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (not the breast). Once it has reached 160 degrees, remove from the oven, and place the bird on the cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and rest for 30 minutes. Pour those pan drippings into the gravy starter. If there are any bits stuck to the pan loosen with some white wine and a whisk.