The bird brined for 24 hours and then sat in the fridge to dry out for another day. Yesterday I cooked him!
So yes, cooking the bird the day of. It is a bit scary but not too bad once you know what you’re doing. First things first: Turn the oven on to 450 degrees. Don’t worry, you won’t cook it this high the whole time, only for the first half hour or so to make sure its browning nicely. While the oven is preheating, prep the stuff you will need to make your bird ultra delicious.
First stop: chop up the onions and apples, which will be stuffed inside the bird and scattered along the bottom of your roasting pan. These are called aromatics, because they will infuse the bird with flavor and also the pan drippings, which you’ll add to your gravy.
Once you’ve got it chopped, simply stuff as much as you can into the cavity, and scatter the rest along the bottom of the pan. I also as you can see, add a garlic clove chopped in half, and basic turkey herbs: rosemary, sage and thyme that was leftover from the herb butter we are about to prepare!
So yes, that brings us to the herb butter: 1/2 a stick of softened butter combined with chopped rosemary, sage, thyme, nutmeg and possibly something else, er, I forget, but you can read it yourself anyway!
Now, here is where I am a culinary genius and deviate ever so slightly from the recipe. I do this because Tyler Florence told me to (via tv of course) and Tyler is never wrong! So, I take half of the butter and slather it UNDER the skin of the turkey breast. I know that this seems gross to you, sticking your hand in all of the poor bird’s slimey crevices, but trust me, it will be so worth it in the end! You can stick your hand in first and loosen the skin and then add the butter, and you can also sort of smooth it out more by pressing on the skin on the outside afterwards and smooshing the butter around.
THEN you nuke the other half in the microwave and use a brush to apply it all over the skin. YUM. salt and pepper that puppy, and now he’s ready to go!
Now you just pop him in the oven at 450 and watch it carefully for the first half hour. I like to rotate the bird after 15 minutes to get it browning evenly. After about a half hour you can drop the temperature down to 350. Every half hour I still like to monitor its progress, rotating when necessary and adding foil to parts that are browning more rapidly than others. A well browned bird is easy to achieve so long as you are diligent! You can also baste from time to time with the juices from the bird. If the bird is not letting go of a lot of juices, help it along by adding a cup of apple cider to the pan. It works! Its done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. I recommend an instant read thermometer. They are cheap and take the guesswork out of wondering if that little handle is TOTALLY close enough to 165 or not!!
At the end, you will be rewarded with a delectable bird, like this one!
Sorry, there wasn’t time for more photo snapping at this point, I had hungry guests who had eaten all the apps!