Painless Turkey - 101

Episode One: Dave's crash course on roasting turkey

This is my recipe for herb-roasted turkey. Straightforward, and easy to follow. I have used this basic preparation method for years, both in the restaurant and at home for Thanksgiving. The beauty is in the simplicity, don't overcomplicate your life. Not only is it easy to produce, it tastes fantastic, and allows you to move on to your next project...or cocktail. If this is your first turkey attempt, just give the recipe a full read so you can be sure you have the proper tools for the job. Mise en place.

  • 1 ea. (10-12lb.)     Whole turkey, fresh
  • 1 stick                   Unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 package             Sage Mage turkey seasoning
  • 1/2 ea.                  Orange
  • 1/2 ea.                  Spanish onion, peeled
  • 2 ea.                     Bay leaf


Method of Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place turkey (breast side up) in a proper roasting pan, preferably one with an elevated rack. At this point, you can make sure your turkey is dry, using a clean kitchen towel to pat dry any excess moisture on the skin so the butter can spread easier.
  3. Cut the orange and onion in half, season them with turkey seasoning on the cut side so the moisture absorbs it. Put the orange and onion halves inside the cavity of the turkey along with the bay leaf. (be sure to remove giblet package, if necessary)
  4. Place softened butter in a dish and mix in one tablespoon of turkey seasoning. Stir the butter well to incorporate the seasoning evenly.
  5. Rub the entire surface of the turkey with the herb butter. Get in all the nooks and crannys, being sure not to leave one stone unturned.
  6. Generously apply a nice dusting of turkey seasoning over the buttered surface, which you will notice really starts to stick well. Don't worry about rubbing it in, just make sure you apply enough to form a nice even coat. (One packet can do two smaller birds, but on a big ol' bird, you can use the whole thing. It's not very salty by nature, so a little extra won't ruin it.)
  7. Cook turkey on the lower rack of the oven, at 450 degrees, for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the turkey, which should be starting to achieve some nice color. Reduce the heat of the oven to 350. While the turkey is out of the oven, lightly cover the entire breast area with a double layer of tinfoil. Place the turkey back in the oven. With the breast covered up, we can relax and not worry about the turkey getting too, that high heat is going to bring out some serious turkey umami.
  8. Cook the turkey for another 1 1/2 hours, not disturbing the door. Just forget its there until the timer goes off...Even heat is the key to success. After the time has elapsed, place a thermometer in the thickest part of the breast (not thigh). We are looking for an internal temperature of 157-161 degrees. If it hasn't hit the temp yet, give it a few more minutes to roast, checking every 5 minutes until you reach your target.
  9. Remove turkey from oven, and let it hang out for at least 20 minutes before carving. This will ensure all the meat relaxes and the juices don't run out, resulting in unfortunately dry turkey.


So that's it. Turkey doesn't have to be a stressful thing. The biggest thing to focus on is the temperature at which the turkey comes out of the oven. An accurate thermometer is a great tool to have on hand when attempting to step up your roast game. You can even get wireless thermometers that send you an alert on your phone when the desired temperature is reached. Now that's sweet. 


Good luck all, thanks for reading, and hopefully trying this turkey recipe.


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  • 2 tsp. minced onion

  • 1 tsp. Dilly Gent 

  • Dash of Tabasco
  • Prepartion:

  • 1Place eggs in a cold pan of water so they are completely submerged.
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