Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is celebrated by giving thanks to the harvest. Gathering with friends and family while enjoying a big feast before the harsh winter. It’s everyone’s favorite holiday because of the food that is made. Either grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, or aunts and uncles get involved in cooking all day for this big meal for everyone. Cousins and other children come over to play, and the adults get to enjoy conversations over some drinks. There may even be a fire going in the living room fireplace with some festive decorations and the whole house smells like turkey. Yes, it is a great time to be thankful for many things.
Speaking of food, the main dish for Thanksgiving is turkey. There are many different ways to cook a delicious turkey, but sometimes you can end up making that turkey too dry. We have some suggestions to help keep the turkey moist and delicious. It will make everyone want to come to your house each year for Thanksgiving.
First let’s make some butter. We don’t mean making butter from scratch, this time. But we do want to make a new butter mixture for this turkey. Take 2 or 3 cubes of soft butter into a mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper, along with some olive oil to keep the butter from burning. Next you’ll want to add 2 lemons, use a grater to add lemon zest and then squeeze the juice. Add 3 cloves of garlic to your garlic press and chop a handful of parsley. Mix your butter mixture thoroughly.
Now let’s season your bird. As always, season with salt and pepper. Cut 2 onions in half and put them in with the skins on. As the onions roast, it will steam inside the turkey and give it a nice sweet taste. Add in a whole lemon, no need to cut it, then add a couple of fresh bay leaves. Now it’s time to add the butter mixture, but before you do that, gently place your fingers in between the skin and the meat to loosen it. Once you have loosened the skin on the top of the thighs, turn the turkey around and do the same thing on the other side. Try not to break the skin or the butter will run out, you want to keep the butter inside the skin.
Now you can grab some of your butter mixture with your fingers, mold it into a ball and gently place it underneath the skin. Pull back the skin, again without tearing it and use your hand to slide the butter down evenly throughout the turkey. Turn the turkey around and do the same thing on the other side. With your leftover butter, rub it all over the outside of the turkey, don’t forget the legs and wings and give it a nice massage.
Tip: you can do all of this the night before, wrap it in tin foil and place it in the fridge.
When you are ready to cook the turkey, place it in a large tray and add a touch of olive oil to keep it from burning the butter. It also keeps the skin nice and crispy. Place the turkey in the oven at 220 degrees for 10 minutes. Take the turkey out of the oven and base with the juices that are sitting in the tray. You don’t have to add this next step, it is optional but it is important to keep your turkey nice and moist. You’ll then place smoked bacon on top of the turkey breast. This adds more flavor and protects the turkey from drying out. You can also add the bacon to your gravy once the turkey is done cooking. Once you have placed the bacon on the turkey, put it back in the oven for another 2 hours, don’t forget to baste every so often.
Tip: to make sure the turkey is fully cooked, stick a knife into the bottom of the thigh and if the juices run clear, that means it’s done.
Once your turkey is done cooking, take it out of the tray and let it rest uncovered for as long as it was cooked, so 2 and a half hours. Don’t cut it after it’s out of the oven because as you let it rest it reabsorbs it’s juices keeping it moist. Plus it will make it easier to carve later. Yes, It may be tempting to start eating it right away because it is still hot, but you can always add freshly cooked gravy to warm it right back up. Remember, if you used the bacon, remove it from the turkey and chop it up to add to your gravy.
This recipe is from the amazing Gordon Ramsay, so you can find his video on how to make it on YouTube by clicking here. For more ways to make a delicious gravy, go to our recipes page and there you’ll find our scrumptious gravy recipe.