Is there anything better than waking up to the fantastic smell of a well-cooked meal? Most people have to hope their loved ones will take the initiative to make them some kind of tasty treat to wake up to such a thing, but when you slow cook a turkey in your oven, you can experience this bliss all on your own.
Just imagine waking up to that heavenly smell of roast turkey and then removing the bird from the oven to find that the meat is practically falling off the bone. This slow-roasted turkey recipe is a magical way to wake up, especially on what would otherwise be a stressful Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.
Total Time: 10 1/2 hours | Prep Time: 60 minutes | Serves: 15
4 tablespoons butter, softened and divided in half
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary, plus one sprig
1 large onion, quartered
1 large lemon, quartered
1 celery stick
4 peeled garlic cloves
2 cups water or 1 cup water and 1 cup wine
Heat the oven to 450F.
Combine 2 tablespoons butter, chopped thyme, chopped sage and chopped rosemary.
Remove plastic leg holders, neck, giblets and thermometer from the turkey. Set the giblets and neck aside if you plan to use them for gravy or stock. Use a knife to loosen the skin from the breast. Rub herbed butter under the breast skin.
Pat the turkey skin and cavity dry. Apply kosher salt to the inside of the turkey cavity. Rub the remaining butter on the outside of the turkey skin with the exception of the breast, which was already buttered from the inside.
Fill the turkey cavity with onion, lemon, carrot, celery, garlic and the rosemary sprig. Put one onion and lemon quarter in the neck as well. These will give a nice aromatic touch to your bird that will ensure it is flavored from the inside out.
Tuck the turkey's legs inside the tail meat flap and bend the wings back so they fit behind the top of the bird's shoulders. On a roasting rack set inside a large roasting pan, place the bird chest-down.
This will ensure all the juice drips into the chest, which is important since you don't want to be basting your turkey while it bakes overnight.
Add the water to the roasting pan, making sure it doesn't reach high enough to touch the bird itself. You may add a cup of wine in place of a cup of water to add more flavor to the meat. The water or wine will help ensure the bird doesn't dry out. Cover the roasting pan and turkey with tin foil.
Put the turkey in the oven and set the timer for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, lower the temperature to 225F. An 18-pound turkey will take around 7 hours, and for every additional 2 pounds, add about 1 hour to the cooking time. If you want to cook the turkey overnight at 225F, you'll probably want a bird that is 20 pounds or more so you can set your alarm for 8 hours after you put the turkey in the oven. When it comes to slow-roast turkey time measurements, it's usually better to go over than under because it is hard to overcook the bird but easy to undercook the bird.
Test your turkey's temperature when you get out of bed. The internal temperature of the meat needs to be at least 165F in the breast and 175F in the thickest part of the thigh.
Allow the turkey to rest at least 45 minutes before carving.
While it is good to add a few aromatics to the turkey cavity, when cooking a turkey at 225F, you cannot stuff the bird. Doing so will put you at risk for foodborne illness, which is anything but delicious.
Be warned that cooking chest-down means your bird will not look beautiful when you take it out of the oven. Simply carve the turkey before bringing it to the table, and your guests won't notice the appearance, but they will awe at the amazing tenderness and flavor of the meat.