This is my second time to roast a turkey. Last year I shared my very first turkey attempt. I was SO nervous. I started having dreams about ruining the turkey for days before our Friendsgiving last year. This year, I was less nervous. I am happy to report I only had one dream about messing up the turkey. So, that's progress I guess (in a crazy person kind of way).My first step was to track down our bird. I don't eat a lot of meat. But, for Friendsgiving I make exceptions. 🙂 I do, however, make an effort to buy organic and ethically raised meats when I do choose to cook with them. Most of the farms in our area work like this: You sign up (and pay a deposit) for a turkey. The turkeys are delivered a day or two before Thanksgiving and you pick them up from the store where you signed up. Since we host Friendsgiving weeks before the real turkey day, this posed a problem for me. That's the thing about no preservatives—it limits the shelf-life—so you have to get it within a short period before you plan to cook it. I called around and (thankfully) Home Grown Foods found a way to get me a turkey early. They really went out of their way to help me get a turkey from a few hours away, and I am extremely thankful. I nearly thought we'd have to serve something other than turkey at Friendsgiving this year. And that would be a bummer because turkey is the showstopper!I picked up my turkey the day before our event. It was ready for brining since it was fresh. If you use a frozen turkey this year, allow it to thaw (in the refrigerator) before brining.
Blue Moon Brine: 7 1/2 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock, 2 bottles Blue Moon beer, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup kosher salt, 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns and enough water to submerge the turkey.
In a big pot, stir together the first four ingredients over medium heat until the sugar and salt has fully dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the peppercorns. Prepare your thawed turkey for brining by first removing the giblets (my least favorite part). Place the turkey in a brining bag. Fill with the cooled brining liquid and enough water to submerge the turkey. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight. Finding the right container to hold the brining turkey can be tricky. A clean bucket works well, or you can use the turkey roasting pan and fill the bag only halfway. Just flip the turkey halfway through the brining time if you go this route.In the morning discard the brining liquid. Rinse off the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Fill the inside of the turkey with one onion (cut into fourths), the rinds of three or four oranges, two sprigs of rosemary, two sprigs of thyme and one sprig of sage. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the top of the turkey and rub it all over the skin. Toward the back of the turkey, just above the opening where you added the aromatics, you can usually get under the skin a little. Be sure to rub some oil in there as well. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper all over the bird. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together, helping the bird keep its shape.
Tuck a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the bird. Bake at 500°F for 30 minutes. High temperatures can more easily create smoke/steam in your kitchen, so don't be afraid to open a few windows. 🙂 After the first 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350°F, remove the foil and continue to roast until the turkey reaches around 155°F. You can use an instant read thermometer to check this. Just stick the thermometer into the breast, avoiding the bones of the bird. Some sources suggest your temperature needs to reach 165°-170°F before removing the turkey from the oven. But, after you remove it, you need to rest the bird in a tent of aluminum foil for 30 minutes before serving time. This process will raise the temperature, even after it's out of the oven. So, keep that in mind. Our turkey was about 14lbs., so it took about two hours to finish cooking. The time it will take to roast can be hard to predict, so I highly recommend an instant read thermometer.
During the last 30 minutes of bake time, I added orange slices (with the rinds removed, because those were already inside the bird) with whole cloves held on by toothpicks. My thought behind this was mostly aesthetic, I kind of wanted it to look similar to a roasted ham (often garnished with pineapple slices and cherries). Before serving, remove the toothpicks and the aromatics from inside. Place your turkey on a large serving platter and decorate with cut oranges and fresh herbs.Thanks for letting me share my oranges and herbs turkey! Do you have a favorite turkey recipe you'll be using this year? xo. Emma
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy
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Here in Ireland we have turkey with our Christmas dinner as we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. I will probably be making my first turkey this year so thanks for the tips. I’ve also just realised I’m definitely going to need to nominate a family member to take the photographs for my blog.
Everyone looks so happy :3
Looking forward to it!!!
I love the idea of a friendsgiving as all the details of the party. Really lovely.
That apron! SWOON! Cant wait to see the blog post for it 🙂
That turkey looks so beautiful! I just read your “My First Turkey” post and I must admit it made me feel SO much better and less crazy. I’m making my first turkey this year for my husband and a bunch of his training friends. I’m terrified I’m going to burn it, or it’s going to be dry, or just something terrible and then I’m going to have 15 very hungry men in my house. SO SCARY!! But seeing you did it makes me feel a bit better!
Happy early Thanksgiving!
You sold me at Blue Moon! This looks amazing!
What a beautiful bird!! What lucky friends you have 🙂
that turkey looks amazing!!
I just learner about brines a few months ago. Thank you so much for putting a a beer spin on it. It opens up so many possibilities.
That’s a good idea!
Emma I thought u were pescetarian?
How many pounds was this turkey? Just to put it in perspective. Love!
I roasted my first turkey this year for work, and it turned out surprisingly delicious with a Bourbon Glaze… but this bird just looks divine! I wouldn’t mind trying something like this later this month!
yum! this looks too delish
Holiday gatherings can be super stressful, but you absolutely nailed it! Everything looked delicious. Definitely lent me some inspiration for this holiday season. xx
We gave up baking the bird. Hello Butterball Turkey fryer. We were sold on the infomercial…
I don’t eat meat apart from fish every now and again but this does look good. Well done Emma! It’s wonderful to see your Friendsgiving for the second year running! 🙂
It looks really nice with the orange slices on top
Simply delicious sounding!