Bird! is the Word...and it's that time of year when everyone is trying to decide between fresh, frozen, organic, smoked, fried, brined, baked, or grilled....turkey! No matter what your choice, this recipe is the one I use and never fails to impress on taste. It's moist and flavor-filled. I also remove the neck and use that in making an extra pan of gravy, I place carrots, onion and celery in the pan with a bit of chicken broth, a bay leaf and the neck and let that simmer a good 45 mins and then strain liquid from solids and finish off making that second gravy with a roux of butter and flour in equal parts to the liquid I get...that way everyone has plenty of gravy and its great to add to Turkey Posole when making the "leftovers" from Thanksgiving day!! I do make the traditional 'pan gravy' from the turkey juices (after taking the fat out) and again a simple butter and flour roux is used there too. Enjoy - Diane
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 14 -pound turkey, giblets removed, washed and dried
melted butter, for drizzling
Fresh thyme, for garnish
Mix the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle some of the spice rub inside the cavity of the turkey. Separate the skin from the breast meat with your fingers, starting at the top of the breast and sliding to the right and left, then working down. Massage some of the rub onto the meat under the skin. Sprinkle the remaining rub on the turkey's skin. Place the turkey on a sheet tray and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours so the flavors can marry.
Set a rack at the lowest position in the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips under. Place the turkey in a roasting pan. Drizzle the outside of the turkey with a few tablespoons of butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the turkey - covered - about 3 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. Transfer the turkey to a platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving. I do baste with pan juices and remove the cover when 30 mins if left in the cooking time.
Recipe Adapted From: Patrick & Gina Neeley
Photo by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home