With near 30 people for Christmas dinner, we didn’t get a lot of opportunities to take pictures. Here is a quick snap of the roasted turkey. To sum up, it was flavourful and really juicy!
Dry Brine Ingredients
- 3 tbsp coarse kosher salt
- 1 tbsp freshly ground course black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh sage finely chopped
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 large carrots rough cut
- 2 onion cut into quarters
- 4 stalks celery rough cut
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 16-pound fresh local turkey
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Reserved turkey neck and giblets
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped
- 1 small bay leaf
- 3 ½ cups no salt chicken broth
- 3 ½ cups water
Prep and Dry Brining (prep 24-32 hours in advance of cooking)
Mix the dry brine ingredients together in a small bowl.
Remove the turkey from the wrapping and remove the giblets and neck from inside the cavity and save for broth. Remove or discard any plastic or metal cages or pop-up thermometers.
Pat the turkey dry using paper towels, inside and out.
Using your hands, gently loosen the skin over the breast and separate it from the meat, making sure to break through the thin membrane between the skin and breast while leaving the skin itself intact.
Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the cavity of the turkey and rub it into the cavity.
Rub 4 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the meat of the breasts (under the skin). Then sprinkle the remaining salt mixture over all the skin of both the breasts, legs and wings
Place the turkey breast-side up on a rack, in a roasting pan. Cover the turkey securely using plastic wrap or place it into a small plastic bag and seal it, removing as much of the air as possible. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Then, uncover the turkey and allow it to remain uncovered and refrigerated for 8-12 hours.
For the turkey broth (make broth the night before)
Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan and sauté until just beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and sauté until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Pour the broth and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 5 cups, about 1 hour. Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup and reserve.
Roasting the turkey
Remove the turkey from the fridge one hour before roasting and allow it to come to room temperature.
Preheat the pellet smoker or grill to 325°F. (If using the grill, only light half the grill, leaving half for indirect cooking of the turkey)
In the bottom of your roasting pan add roughly cut celery, onions, garlic, and carrots. Fold the wings carefully under the back of the bird and loosely tie the legs together with twine. Place the turkey breast side down on the vegetables. Add 1 cup of turkey stock to the pan.
Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven, turn so the breast side is up, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 ¾ to 3 ¼ hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 cup turkey stock.
Remove the roasted turkey from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with foil and allow the turkey to rest 30-60 minutes before slicing. This will ensure that the juices stay in the turkey and don’t all run out as you slice it.
**Use the pan juices and leftover turkey broth to make your gravy.
Here’s another grilled turkey recipe – Whole Turkey on the Grill