Roasted turkey on a platter

The Ultimate Roast Turkey

Turkey is turkey, right?  That’s pretty much what I thought until I made this recipe


The dry brining makes the turkey SO moist and imparts great flavor into the meat of the bird.  The butter-soy basting gives the skin a beautiful dark color and gives the crispy skin that we love so much.  This will be the third Thanksgiving in a row that I’ve made this recipe, adapted from the amazing chefs at Bon Appetit, and it’s hands down a family favorite

A couple of notes before we begin.  After you safely defrost your turkey according to the directions on the package , you’ll need to factor in 2 days for the bird to dry brine in the refrigerator.  So do the defrosting + brine math to make sure you’ll have it ready for the day you want to roast it

The next note is concerning the kosher salt.  There are 2 major brands of kosher salt and the measurements vary depending upon the brand you choose

What is the difference between Diamond Crystal and Morton kosher salt?

The taste of the kosher salt is pretty much the same, but they differ in the size of the salt crystals Morton kosher salt has a much finer grind than Diamond Crystal. The best way to determine your measurement is by weight rather than cups

I’m using Diamond Crystal kosher salt for this recipe and 1 1/2 cups is equal to 7.5 ounces.  If you’re using Morton kosher salt, 1 1/2 cups weighs 12 ounces

Weigh out the kosher salt and measure 1/2 cup of brown sugar (which weighs 3 1/4 ounce since the scale is already out)

Mix well.  Place the cleaned, dry bird on a sheet pan and generously cover with the dry brine ingredients all over the outside and inside

My turkey is about 20 pounds and this was a good amount of dry brine mixture.  It’s not an exact science, so if your bird is a little bigger or smaller, just do the math to adjust the amount of brine ingredients.  At least cooking math is a little more forgiving than baking math

It’s a little messy so that’s why I use a sheet pan

Place the turkey uncovered in the fridge for 2 days prior to cooking in a roasting pan with a lip to contain any juices that accumulate

On cooking day, give the bird a quick rinse and pat dry with paper towels

Let the turkey sit out for 2-3 hours to get up to room temperature before roasting.  Place on a rack in a roasting pan and add in 1 cup of water.  I’m using a disposable aluminum pan to lessen the amount of post dinner clean-up so I’m placing the entire roasting pan onto a sheet pan for added stability

Lower the rack in the oven to the bottom third and preheat to 425 F degrees

Roast the turkey for about 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through to ensure even browning.  Make sure there is still some liquid in the bottom of the pan so the drippings don’t burn.  Add water in 1/2 cup increments if necessary

While the initial roasting process is taking place, let’s make the basting mixture.  We’ll need 1 stick of unsalted butter, 4 teaspoons of soy sauce, 3 roasted garlic cloves and 3 sprigs of of rosemary

Here’s our link to roast your own garlic cloves:

Show me how to Roast Garlic

I’m using roasted garlic because I love the nutty flavor, but fresh garlic cloves will also work.  Just smash them but leave intact.  You don’t want to use chopped garlic because it will burn during cooking.  We really just want the garlic flavor

I’ll be honest, the basting mixture sounds a bit unconventional at first but it’s absolutely amazing.  My husband &  I stood over the pot of ingredients just smelling.  And smelling

Oh man.  What else can we possibly use this mixture for???  We may or may not have dunked a chunk of crusty bread in the melted mixture

Heat all of the basting ingredients in a small saucepot over medium heat until melted and fragrant.  Lower heat and keep warm

Lower the heat in the oven to 350 degrees and baste the entire turkey every 15 minutes with the basting mixture and rotate the entire pan every 30 minutes.  Sounds very hands on, but if you set a timer, you’ll be sure not to forget

Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast reads 150 degrees.  Let rest for at least 45 minutes before carving.  The bird will continue to cook as it rests and will reach the desired temperature

Another note, this bird is unstuffed.  We prefer to make the stuffing separately as a casserole so it has more of a crispy texture on the top.  If you plan to stuff the bird with bread stuffing, the cooking time will vary

Here’s the link to our Bread Stuffing as well as a few other Thanksgiving favorites

Classic Bread Stuffing

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Cranberry Sauce

Carve up the turkey, serve with your favorite sides and be thankful for the friends and family sharing this meal with you

We love it when our readers make and share our recipes!

Post a pic on your social media and tag us @ #simplysundayshomecooking

Roasted turkey on a platter

Enjoy!

Simply Sundays ~ The Ultimate Roast Turkey

  • Servings: 20 pound turkey
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Ingredients

18-22 pound turkey, defrosted if frozen

Dry brine

1 1/2 cups of kosher salt:  (7.5 ounces: Diamond Crystal or 12 ounces Morton)

1/2 cup of brown sugar

Basting mixture

1 stick of unsalted butter

4 teaspoons of soy sauce

3 roasted garlic cloves (or fresh, smashed but intact)

3 sprigs of of rosemary

Directions

Weigh out the kosher salt and measure 1/2 cup of brown sugar for the dry brine

Mix well.  Place the cleaned, dry bird on a sheet pan and generously cover with the dry brine ingredients all over the outside and inside

Place the turkey uncovered in the fridge for 2 days prior to cooking in a roasting pan with a lip to contain any juices that accumulate

When ready to roast,  give the bird a quick rinse and pat dry with paper towels

Let the turkey sit out for 2-3 hours to get up to room temperature before roasting.  Place on a rack in a roasting pan and add in 1 cup of water.  If using a disposable aluminum pan,  place the entire roasting pan onto a sheet pan for added stability

Lower the rack in the oven to the bottom third and preheat to 425 degrees

Roast the turkey for about 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through to ensure even browning.  Make sure there is still some liquid in the bottom of the pan so the drippings don’t burn.  Add water in 1/2 cup increments if necessary

Measure out 1 stick of unsalted butter, 4 teaspoons of soy sauce, 3 roasted garlic cloves and 3 sprigs of of rosemary

Heat all of the basting ingredients in a small saucepot over medium heat until melted and fragrant.  Lower heat and keep warm

Lower the heat in the oven to 350 degrees and baste the entire turkey every 15 minutes with the basting mixture and rotate the entire pan every 30 minutes

Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast reads 150 degrees.  Let rest for at least 45 minutes before carving.  The bird will continue to cook as it rests and will reach the desired temperature

Carve up the turkey & serve with your favorite sides

Tools used to make this recipe

OXO Stainless Steel Food Scale

Architec Carving Board, Gripperwood

Mini Prep Glass Bowl

Pyrex Prepware 2-Cup Measuring Cup, Red Graphics, Clear

Wilton Recipe Right Non-stick Cookie Sheet Set, 2-Piece

ZELITE INFINITY Chef Knife 8 inch

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