The Perfect Turkey

Turkey perfection
Turkey perfection

Nothing spells the holidays more than the perfect turkey.   I’ve been tweaking this recipe for about 15 years…and I think I’m there.  Although, next year…I’ll probably tweak some more.  Most important…get an instant-read thermometer that you can insert into the turkey and watch the temp without having to open your oven.  This keeps it moist and flavorful!

I must say…I just made this, and the Loon nearly passed out when he took his first bite (which happens every year).  I’m a big believer in brining…it deepens the flavor of the meat, and makes it buttery tender.  Oh my.  You will be so thankful.  The perfect Thanksgiving feast takes time and pre-planning.  Start thinking about this now.   Write down the time schedule.  And you’ll be perfect.  As perfect as this Perfect Turkey.  Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!

The Perfect Turkey
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Perfect Turkey recipe is fool-proof. The key here is brining (you can find a brine bag at your supermarket)...and an instant-read thermometer. No guessing...once the inner meat hit 160're good to go. Just get started a couple days before you want to serve...and you'll be golden...just like this turkey. You're guests will flip.
Recipe type: Thanksgiving
Cuisine: Poultry
Serves: 10
  • 1 gallon of apple cider
  • 1½ cups of Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup of ground allspice
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 gallon of cold water
  • 1 15 - 20 lb fresh turkey
  • ¼ cup of canola oil
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 6 sage fresh sage leaves
  • 2 cups of fresh chicken stock
  2. In a large stock pan, simmer 4 cups of the apple cider, Kosher salt, allspice and bay leaves. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Add the remaining 3 quarts of cider and another gallon (4 quarts) of water.
  5. Place turkey into a large brine bag and then put in a large cooler.
  6. Now...gently add the cooled brine.
  7. Either place in the fridge, or cover the brine bag in the cooler with ice...and let rest for 24 hours.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 500 F
  10. Remove the turkey from the bag, and let drain in your sink.
  11. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  12. Rub canola oil all over the turkey...about ¼ cup.
  13. Lightly salt and pepper the skin (not's already soaked in salt from the brine).
  14. Stuff the cavity with quartered onions and lemons, as well as the aromatics: thyme, rosemary and sage.
  15. Place on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan, breast side up.
  16. Insert the instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.
  17. Add the chicken stock to the pan (use the drippings for gravy, later).
  18. Place in the oven and bake on high for 30 minutes. Leave the thermometer temperature display on the outside of the oven, so you can keep an eye on the temp.
  19. After the 30 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven and reduce the heat to 350.
  20. Add pieces of foil over the parts of the bird that have turned dark: wings, sides, etc.
  21. Now, return the turkey to the oven, and cook until the internal temp reaches 161 F...about 2½ hours for an 18 - 20 lb bird.
  22. Remove from oven...carve. And be in heaven.



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