Wednesday, November 23, 2011

K.I.S.S. Turkey

After being inspired by watching dozens of celebrity chefs' favorite turkey techniques over the last few days, I decided to show a turkey being prepared using none of them. This goes out to all you terrified first timers whose heads are probably spinning with cryptic visions of brining, rubbing, marinating, injecting, smoking, and frying.

This also goes out to you grizzled veterans who realize the turkey is  nothing more than an edible centerpiece; merely an excuse to surround ourselves with the most delicious and decadent side dishes and desserts possible.

I’m not saying that all those tips and tricks aren’t worthwhile; they are, and I’ve used many of them at one time or another, but the fact remains that if you simply buy a great bird, rub it with a some butter, season it generously, and slow roast it – you’ll have a perfectly wonderful tasting turkey with magazine cover good looks.

Having said that, I don't really expect most of you to just settle for such a primitive method, but the point here is that you could if you wanted to. If you do decide to first use whatever brines, marinades, and/or spice rubs strike your fancy, this roasting method will still work very nicely. By the way, if you need it, check out this gravy post for what to do with all those pan drippings. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
12-24 pound turkey
seasoning salt: salt, black pepper, and cayenne
3 tbsp butter
4 springs of rosemary
1/2 bunch sage leaves
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery rib
*Roast at 325 degrees F. for about 15 min/per pound or until an internal temp of 175 degrees F.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chef John, you seriously make my day with your recipes :) thank you so much!

Susanne said...

Oh, Chef John, you're killing me. All those side dishes and now a turkey. I wish the Germans would celebrate Thanksgiving the way Americans do it!!!

Anonymous said...

Chef John do you prefer this turkey or the turkey from "Turkey Part One:"? Oh and thank you for all you thanksgiving help, I feel very confident to cook by myself this year.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that you didn't roast the tail!

Jim

Anonymous said...

*Ahem* a "couple" tbls of butter ? ;)
Looks delish though!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

In your other Turkey prep video you stated to put tin foil on the breast for the first few hours so the top doesn't get burnt/dries out. Was wondering why you didn't do that here?

Thanks much! Have a great Thanksgiving!!

3 year dedicated Chef John Fan

Anonymous said...

I saw that Alton Brown suggests roasting the turkey for 30 minutes at 500F initially, and then lowering the temp to 350F and cooking it the rest of the way with the breast covered. He says that it makes for less cooking time and thus more moisture stays in the meat. Do you agree? Is low and slow the way to go?

Discovery said...

I wasn't going to do a Turkey this year, since it's just me and my boyfriend. But, after watching this video, I really want to do one. Thanks Chef!

Sembazuru said...

Nice and simple. Definitely K.I.S.S. :-)

One question (well request for advice). With the drippings to add to gravy (or to convert your "gravy" to an actual gravy...) what would you suggest to do with the veggies? My first instinct would be to hit the drippings with an immersion blender and purify all those yummy veggies.

Your thoughts? (Yes, I know there is no _one_ way. I'm just asking for some advice from your pallet and experience.)

Chef John said...

I prefer the older recipe, because the butter under the skin adds flavor.

I've not tried Alton's method, but I'm sure it's fine.

I want to be sure everyone realizes this post was not supposed to be the ultimate, best tasting method...it was simply to prove point and give beginners confidence.

Anonymous said...

Less is more chef…that’s what my wife tells me; I’m not sure why, anyway, turkey looks great! Once or twice a year and this is one of those times, I pull the Mauviel’s off the rack (because their Mauviel’s), and get cooking. Brine, compound butter etc…I don’t know why; I always get a fantastic result everyway and your bird resting on the mirepoix looks good to me. I use your compound butter recipe and short stock recipe which is in the works now. Anywho; I’ve been with your site since the beginning, always entertaining! Take care Chef, I was going to write Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless to you and yours, but I’m not sure if that’s still legal, so I won’t

Sandra from Montreal said...

As usual, this recipe looks wonderful and easy!

Just wondering about rinsing the turkey though. Seems to me that I read somewhere recently that rinsing poultry is not necessary; that, in fact, it can spread bacteria over a wide radius of your kitchen, if you're not super careful. I've never done it, and it's always been fine.

Thanks again for a great video, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Stelio said...

Hello there Chef John!! From what I've seen in a number of videos, you guys in the States do not stuff the Turkey, you cook it hollow. While we here in Greece actually stuff the turkey with a bunch of dry fruits, chestnuts, pine nuts etc. What is your idea on that. Does the turkey come out nicer with or without the stuffing. We have never cooked one empty. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving.

Chris K. said...

I think the real secret to roasting turkey is selecting the right size bird. Those 24-pound mutant monstrosities look impressive, but they just don't roast evenly in a typical home oven. You're better off buying two smaller birds and roasting them side by side.

This has the added benefit of more drippings, which means more gravy. Who doesn't want more gravy?

Rita said...

@Susanne - amen to that! then again, this is our tradition so i can't really complain on how the Deutsch celebrates it... if they even do.

Bobby said...

Hey Chef John,

Long time reader, first time commenting. I JUST put the turkey using this recipe in the oven. I'm TOTALLY BLAMING YOU if it doesn't come out right. Even though I'm probably going to be taking most of that blame if we're stuck around the table with a few pizzas. Just kidding! I trust your experience. I'll be back once it's out of the oven. Sending you a picture once it's done!

Mike G said...

Hey, my turkey didn't come with a neck. What if I just chop off these useless wings and boil them to make a stock for the gravy?

China said...

Thank you soooo much my first Turkey cane out soooo good that all they left was the bones!!!!

Margaret said...

mmmm....that's all I have to say...looks delicious!

Katherine said...

Dear Chef John,

I was just wondering if the seasoning salt was equal parts salt,pepper and cayenne? This is my first time making the turkey so I'm a bit nervous!

Chef John said...

Relax! :) it may have been equal salt and pepper but maybe only 5 % cayenne.

Unknown said...

Chef John,

Well unfortunately i couldn't find a turkey :(, but i used the same setup with a whole chicken and it turned out amazing. the herb butter made the chicken skin absolutley crispy as needed. Thanks for your recipe, definitely will be using it again!

Wesley Barwick said...

I used the recipe on a chicken instead of a turkey and it was amazing. The sage and rosemary were more flavorable than I had imagined. Thanks for the recipe and I will definitely be using more recipes in the future.

Claudine said...

Heh heh heh. Outside cavities. I love it.
Beautiful job on the bird.
I appreciate seeing chefs take a moment of their time to make sure newbies feel confident. Very nice.

Scion said...

I'm cooking a turkey with this method right now. I peeked. Looks just awesome! Aroma is making me so dang hungry! I did brine it overnite, tho'.
Excellent, Jon!

Scion said...

I cooked a 14lb bird and the 'formula' was off a bit - 4 hrs was too long, skin got too crisp (but meat was fine) - for my oven 3.5 hours would be right. Btw, those pan drippings mixed with the vegetables was really tasty. Gravy was wonderful.

yellie said...

Hey Chef John can I cut the wings off my turkey and use them for my gravy or is that a bad idea? Thanks

Chef John said...

Yes! I do that all the time.

Catastrophe Waitress said...

I just put my very first turkey in the oven, Chef John style! Thank you for your help! Off to watch the gravy video...

Just a Crazy Woman said...

WHOOOHOOO!!!!! Thanks to YOU I cooked my first turkey and it turned out PERFECT!! I made it just like you said. I wish you knew how incredible this is. Now, it was quite gross dealing with it before cooking and the carving wasn't fun... but it tastes fantastic!