How to Roast Your Perfectly Dry Brined Turkey

All right , so Mr. Tom the plump Turkey has sat in his salt mask for at least two days. Pull him out of your chill chest. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Now—I am not big on insisting that everyone needs the same things in their kitchen—but you really do need the kind of meat thermometer that stays in the bird. Mine attaches by a cord that sits outside of the oven. You don’t want to continually open your oven, and poking it several times will merely release those juices we spent THREE DAYS creating. That would be crazy. Place your turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Take a large piece of foil and press it over the breast. Remove it and set it aside. You will need it later and doing that to sizzling hot turkey will result in your eating a Twix from the vending machine at your local burn unit on the third Thursday in November. Be prepared. Meanwhile—in your food processor—combine a stick of butter (totally soft), two cloves of garlic and several tablespoons of olive oil. This is not the meal where we worry about fat. Go for it, it’s traditional. Whiz to a fine fluffy cloud of garlicky, buttery goodness. Again with the scrubbing your hands—get them good and clean and dry. Then you are gong to gently work your hands under the skin of the turkey—it isn’t attached to the flesh any more but it’s dry so you need to be gentle. You are going to rub your butter into the gap. It’s okay if you have small globs of butter in some spots—massaging from the outside, work the fat as evenly as you can around the bird. Place your meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. If its programmable, set it for 165 degrees. Slide the turkey into your oven and immediately drop the heat to 350 degrees. No stuffing in the bird. I am sorry, but stuffing makes it harder for your breast and thighs to be ready at the same time. Yes, your grandma did it that way. She also used Listerine as a douche (I am not making that up—go google it—I will wait.) Do not worry about your stuffing—it will be meaty and rich—I swear. We will get to that recipe soon. Now look through your oven window. Avoid opening the door. Closer to the end of cooking you are probably going to have to open the door to slide in some things that need to cook, like the stuffing, or the sweet potatoes, so don’t do it now if you don’t have to. You don’t really need to baste, that’s the butters job—and frankly it’s much better at it than you are. The only reason to open the oven and look at the turkey up close is if you think the drippings are scorching. That must be avoided, since we are going to use those for our gravy. If it appears that they are burning, pour a few cups of broth into the pan—that’s why you need the rack, so your burnished, crispy turkey is not sweltering in a pool of liquid. The basic rule of turkey cooking is thirteen minutes per pound. Now, this formula assumes a commercially raised turkey—they will be far meatier and less muscular than a wild turkey. You may need to make adjustments for a wild bird. See ya soon from Slick Trench—this Thanksgiving is going to be delicious!

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