Easy, Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey
November 08, 2019
The bane of many American home cooks’ existence on the fourth Thursday of every year, the Thanksgiving turkey can evoke anxiety-riddled dreams days before the feast, cause smoky backyard fires when deep-fried carelessly, and be a lackluster, dry, and tasteless centerpiece when not prepared and cooked properly. Whether it’s a family affair or friendsgiving, every cook hopes to barge out of the humid, war-torn battlefield that was once a kitchen to present a bronzed, shiny bird with crackled, tan skin and moist, tender meat, place it on the dining table, savor the gasps and applause from ravenous guests, then collapse into a chair to chug a glass of chardonnay.
Save yourself the turkey drama this year and any frantic calls to turkey hotlines (yes, this is actually a thing) by learning our easy injection method. We used a meat injector syringe to add our acidic, herby, and well-seasoned Avocado Oil & Vinegar Vinaigrette to the interior of the turkey, and slathered the bird in room-temperature melted butter to ensure even browning and plenty of moisture. Our turkey cooking method doesn’t include adjusting oven temperatures, helicopter babysitting and basting in timed increments (only one round of basting with melted butter recommended in the last hour of roasting for our method), or flipping a half-cooked, dripping bird inelegantly in the roasting pan.
You might feel a bit like a mad scientist, plunging vinaigrette into the turkey, but it beats brining the bird for a day or two in a ridiculously large container that doesn’t fit in the refrigerator. Get that needle, buy the bird and two bottles of our Avocado Oil & Vinegar Vinaigrette (depending on the size of your turkey, of course), follow the instructions below, and get ready to be a culinary Thanksgiving hero. You can act like roasting a beautiful bird took more effort than the go-getter dinner guests who ran a Turkey Trot that morning—we won’t tell if you spritz a little water on your forehead, rub some schmaltz on your apron, and add a few extra sighs when carrying this easy-to-make Thanksgiving turkey to the table.
From now until November 21, 2019, we've partnered with ButcherBox on a holiday giveaway. We'll select 4 lucky winners (U.S. only, must be 18 years or older) to receive a ButcherBox holiday meat package, including a turkey, plus $130 in Primal Kitchen products! To enter, follow the instructions here.
Easy, Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey
Time: about 17 hours
- 1 14-pound turkey (We used a ButcherBox all-natural turkey fed an all-vegetable diet)
- 1 ½ cups Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil & Vinegar Vinaigrette & Marinade*
- Plenty of salt
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 4 apples, sliced
- 4 carrots, cut into 3”-long pieces
- 4 celery stalks, cut into 3”-long pieces
- 12 garlic cloves, separated
- 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 10 stems fresh thyme
- 10 stems fresh sage
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- Freshly cracked black pepper
*You'll need 2 bottles of Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil & Vinegar Vinaigrette for a 14-pound turkey.
- 1 Meat Injector Syringe (We used this one.)
- 1 large meat roasting pan with metal grate
- 1 roll aluminum foil
- 1 turkey baster
- Meat thermometer
The night before you roast the turkey...
- If frozen, make sure the turkey is thawed completely before starting preparation process.
- Remove giblets and neck from body cavity of turkey and rinse turkey thoroughly with cool water. Pat turkey dry completely with paper towels.
- Blitz Avocado Oil & Vinegar Vinaigrette in a blender for 10–15 seconds.
- Pour vinaigrette into injection syringe, and start poking the needle into the flesh of the turkey and injecting the vinaigrette inside the bird.
- You want to insert the needle just far enough into the meat that the vinaigrette doesn’t just run out of the bird. Add more vinaigrette to the syringe as necessary until you’ve evenly injected vinaigrette all over the bird. Plan to make about 30–40 injections into a large bird.
- Place the turkey in the refrigerator, covered, if desired, for about 12 hours to allow the vinaigrette to distribute throughout the bird.
The day you want to roast the turkey…
- Remove turkey from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature on the counter, about 20 minutes or so.
- Season the turkey liberally inside and outside with salt.
- Place cut onions, apples, carrots, celery, garlic, and half of the herbs inside of the cavity of the turkey. Scatter any remaining fruit, veggies, and herbs onto the bottom of the turkey roasting pan.
- Place stuffed turkey on top of the roasting rack.
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt better. Set aside to cool.
- Pour half of the melted butter on top of the bird. Massage butter onto the outside skin of the turkey with your hands so that it’s completely coated.
- Grind fresh cracked black pepper on top of the turkey.
- Place a tent of aluminum foil over the turkey and place in the oven. Roast for approximately 15 minutes per pound. For our 14-pound bird, we roasted it in the oven for about 3.5 hours total.
- About one hour before the cooking time is done for the size of your turkey, remove the aluminum foil tent.
- Baste the turkey with remaining melted butter, and allow to roast and brown for another hour.
- When the cooking time is complete, remove the turkey from the oven.
- Insert a meat thermometer inside the breast of the turkey (away from any bone) and read the temperature. A reading of 173ºF indicates that the turkey is fully cooked.
- Allow the turkey to rest for 20–30 minutes before carving (you can tent it with aluminum foil again to keep it warm).
Nutritional information (per serving; we approximate about 15 servings for a 14-pound bird)*:
Carbs: 0.5 grams
Fat: 41 grams
Protein: 79 grams
Nutritional information calculated using Cronometer. *Nutritional info includes white and dark meat plus skin.
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