Monday, November 14, 2011

how to roast a perfect turkey {and winners!!}

Whether you are hosting the big day or not, it's a fun time of year to roast a turkey.  The house will smell amazing and you can enjoy the leftovers for a week!

If you've never roasted a turkey before, it can be a little daunting.  So, today I thought I'd share my method.  I have been cooking our Thanksgiving turkey this way for the last 6 or 7 years and it always comes out perfect and delicious.


Here is what you'll need:

::1 turkey, whatever size you like, but I usually do about 18lbs
::brining mixture
::4qts buttermilk
::brining bag or large plastic roasting bag
::2 lemons
::2 oranges
::2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs
::1/2 stick of butter
::kosher salt
::freshly ground pepper
::kitchen twine

Once you have fully defrosted the turkey in the fridge {which will take a few days}, it's time to make a brine.

This is the one I always use:

It's from Williams Sonoma and if I have a choice between a few different kinds, I always go with the one that has citrus.

Okay, so to make the brine, you will boil 1 1/2 cups of brine and 1 quart of water over high heat.  Cool thoroughly and refrigerate until chilled.  In a brining bag combine brine with 4 quarts of buttermilk.  Brining bags are like giant ziplocs big enough to hold a turkey.  You can also buy the turkey roasting bags at the grocery store for this purpose.  

Prepare the turkey by rinsing with cold water and be sure and remove gizzard, etc from inside the cavity.  Place the turkey in the bag with the brine/buttermilk mixture and refrigerate 24-36 hours. 

{Side note: We have found that it is easier to use a cooler half full of ice, that is set on the ground, then place the giant bag in the cooler, pour in the brine and buttermilk and add the turkey, close the bag and add a little more ice.  The first year I did the brine I tried to lift the whole thing into the fridge and it took me about 20 minutes.  Plus, it takes up your entire fridge.  If you use the cooler idea, be sure and check it often to make sure that it is staying cold and that the ice hasn't all melted.}

On the day you are ready to roast, remove the turkey from the brine mixture and rinse thoroughly with cold water.  Dry with paper towels. 

Position rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Place the rinsed turkey in a roasting pan with a rack to allow for drippings and fill the cavity with quartered lemons, oranges, and fresh rosemary springs.

Next, melt 1/2 stick of butter and brush it all over the outside of the turkey.  Liberally season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. 

Tie up the legs with kitchen twine and roast for 12 minutes a pound.  No need to baste or anything like that.  If you notice that the breast is cooking too quickly or the skin is looking a little too brown, tent it with aluminum foil.  You will know that it's done when the juice between the leg and thigh runs clear when pierced. 

Once fully cooked, transfer the turkey to a carving board and cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Allow to rest for 20 minutes, carve and enjoy the compliments!

And, now for the 3 randomly chosen winners of the Cameron giveaway!!

The Sherman Four, who said:

You are so talented you could do all of that at your table!!! Can't wait to see after pictures!


Sherry Lykins, who said:

"Great ideas!! Would love to win a Cameron necklace!!"

and...last, but not least:

Katelyn Silva, who said:

"Reading your blog over my morning coffee is my new ritual. Its like reading all my favorite magazines at once!"

{just to be fair, all winners are chosen by}

Congrats ladies!!  Please email me at with the initial you would like on your Cameron as well as your ship to info.


  1. I am so excited!! Thank you!Katelyn Silva

  2. Congratulations to the winners!! Thanks for the recipe for the turkey, I believe I will work with that one!!

  3. Turkey looks delicious!!!! congrats to all the winners.


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