Cooking a turkey with kosher salt

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I’ve roasted a turkey once in my life. I was in college, and it was shortly before Thanksgiving and my roommates and I wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving together.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t a complete disaster. Our 12-pound turkey fit nicely into our economy-sized stove and a couple of hours later, voila: roasted bird. It really was a miracle we were able to cook an entire Thanksgiving Day meal in that tiny little kitchen.

I’m a bit older and wiser now. I’d like to roast a turkey to celebrate my fiance’s new apartment. Though the kitchen isn’t much bigger than my kitchen was in college, it’s better equipped to handle said bird.

I’ve taken some suggestions from our readers and now it’s time to put the turkey to the test.

Ingredients:

  • A whole fresh or frozen turkey
  • 1 tablespoon Rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons Thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Sage
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • Bacon (optional)
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1 Can of Broth (for basting)

Directions:

Thawing: If your turkey is frozen, make sure to thaw it safely. You don’t want to get sick, right? Turkey can stay frozen indefinitely, but as soon as you begin thawing, any bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin growing again.

Refrigerator: Thaw a frozen turkey in your fridge for 24 hours for every 5 pounds. Make sure to set your turkey in a shallow pan so the drippings don’t get on your other foods.

Cold water thawing: Put the wrapped turkey in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes or so until the turkey is completely thawed. Allow 30 minutes per pound.

Microwave: Microwaves vary in power so follow the manufacturer’s directions when thawing. Use the turkey immediately after it’s thawed.

Prep:

  1. After my turkey thawed, I pulled out the neck and the giblets (my turkey had the giblets in a piece of wax paper. I also ran cold water through the turkey to thaw out anything on the inside that may still have been frozen.
  2. Place your turkey in a roasting pan. Dry it, inside and out.
  3. Take a liberal amount of kosher salt and rub all surfaces of the turkey. Also rub the salt on the inside of the turkey.
  4. Melt half a stick of butter and brush it onto the turkey. Take the other half and place inside the turkey.
  5. Next, mix the rosemary, thyme and sage in a small bowl. Rub the mixture on every surface.
  6. If you’d like to stuff the turkey, tie the legs together with a cotton string.
  7. Take your raw bacon (optional) and place it under the skin of the breast. You may also wrap the wings and thighs.
  8. Pour chicken broth in the bottom of the pan for basting.
  9. Finally, sprinkle garlic powder, salt and pepper on the turkey before roasting.
  10. Roast, uncovered at 375 F for 1 hour.
  11. After 1 hour, baste, sprinkle with season and brush with more butter. Then make a tent with aluminum foil and cover loosely. Reduce the heat to 325 F and continue roasting for another hour.
  12. Uncover the turkey and continue roasting until a food thermometer shows the meat has reached 165 F.
  13. Let your turkey rest for 30 minutes before cutting. If you cut the turkey too soon, not only will you burn your fingers, but the turkey meat will release all of its moisture and it will be dry.

Cooking times:

Cook an un-stuffed turkey at 325 F for 15 minutes per pound. Roast a stuffed turkey at 325 F for 18 minutes per pound.

Notes:

I loosely followed a recipe I found at Cooks.com. Cooks.com recommends buttering after applying the spices, I disagree. Butter before the spices. Buttering afterward only brushes away all of that tasty rosemary and thyme.

My turkey was moist and tender, but it was also a little on the salty side. Next time I’ll be using less kosher salt (I admit, the turkey looked crystallized after I salted it).

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