We’re a week into the What’s Gaby Cooking Thanksgiving menu this year it’s time for the main attraction… an Herb Roasted Turkey that you’ll make annually from here on out.
There’s a ton of planning to do before the big day and while you might think I’m a bit nuts, I’ve been working away to create the most epic Thanksgiving spread for you the past few months. Whoever thinks being a food blogger is glamorous should have seen what it looks like to recipe test a 16 pound Herb Roasted Turkey in August. It wasn’t pretty. But it’s all worth it now because the whole thing is coming to WGC! A perfectly cooked turkey, the best mashed potatoes to even grace your table, a stuffing to end all stuffings, side dishes that you’ll want to devour, and a fun dessert that no one will be expecting! I’ve taken all the guess work out of Thanksgiving this year so whether you’re hosting the entire thing yourself, or if you just need a side dish or dessert to bring over to someones house… you’re covered! Nothing is super complicated or time consuming – just 100% delicious!
If you ask my husband the most important part of Thanksgiving, he’d tell you it’s the bird… so that’s what we’re talking about today! The bird is stuffed with citrus and herbs and coated with a herb compound butter that you’ll want to slather all over everything else. Seeing as how it’s Thanksgiving, and anything goes, I think it’s totally acceptable. And if you’re a brine kinda person like me… here’s pretty much everything you’ll ever need to know about brining a bird! I always opt for a dry brine just because it’s just less messy!
PS – are you thinking of putting this on your Thanksgiving menu? Check out the full What’s Gaby Cooking menu here along with the master prep schedule to keep things organized and on track!
- 1 14-16 pound turkey, thawed if frozen
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 handfuls of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 handfuls of fresh thyme leaves
- 2 handfuls of fresh sage leaves
- 3 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 2 lemons, each cut into halves
- 1 recipe Turkey Gravy
- If you are using a frozen turkey, remove the turkey from the freezer a few days before Thanksgiving and let it thaw out in the refrigerator. (If you are bringing the turkey - see the link above on steps)
- When you're ready to roast the bird, remove the turkey from the refrigerator, remove the giblets from inside, rinse turkey with cool water, and pat dry with paper towels. Let it rest on a baking sheet for 2 hours until it comes to room temperature.
- In a food processor, combine the butter, lemon zest, 1 handful of parsley, 1 handful of thyme and 1 handful of sage leaves and pulse for 1-2 minutes until everything is evenly incorporated. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and pulse for a few seconds more. Remove the compound butter from the food processor and set aside.
- Once the turkey is prepped, place it in a large roasting pan, breast side up on a metal rack.
- Using your hands, smear the butter all over the turkey. Liberally season the bird with salt and pepper and use your hands to pat everything down onto the skin.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, with rack on lowest level.
- Fill the inside of the bird with the remaining handfuls of herbs and the halved lemons, making sure everything is stuffed inside the bird. Tie the legs together with a bit of kitchen twine and place the bird into the oven and roast for 30 minutes at 450 degrees F.
- After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue to cook for about 2 more hours, basting turkey with drippings from the bottom and rotating the pan every 30-45 minutes.
- After 2.5 hours of cooking time, use a meat thermometer and check the thickest part of the turkey so make sure the internal temperature is 175 degrees. The turkey should be golden brown at this point. If the turkey is not done, continue to cook it until the thermometer registers at 175 degrees F.
- If the turkey is done but isn't quite golden brown yet, crank the heat up to 450 degrees and blast it for 15 minutes to crisp up the skin.
Trying to save some time - make the compound butter a few days ahead of time and keep it stored in the refrigerator until it's time to use
I am so excited you are making one of my recipes and I would love to see how it turns out. Make sure to share it on instagram and tag me @whatsgabycookin so I can see your masterpiece!