Turkey. I don’t know if there’s a more notorious food than this bird. Frozen birds, burnt birds, burnt husbands who tried to deep fry the bird. The turkey has a bad rep. However, when done correctly, turkey can be juicy, delicious, and EASY. We get turkeys at work every year as a little Thanksgiving gift, so I decided to cook one up 2 years ago and have a Thanksgiving dinner with friends before the actual holiday. Having never cooked a whole bird before, I scoured the internet for techniques and recipes. Thankfully, Food Network was showing a Thanksgiving special, and Claire Robinson was demonstrating a “foolproof” method of cooking a classic, juicy turkey. It looked perfect, so I took notes and decided that her recipe was going to be my plan of attack. It didn’t hurt that she only used FIVE ingredients.
So I gathered everything up the morning of the party and got to prepping. Claire wasn’t kidding when she said it was simple. Prep took about 15 minutes. I baked it off for about 3 and a half hours. When I pulled that bird out, oh my heavens, it was PERFECT. I was thoroughly impressed with myself. And with Claire. It was so easy. Way easier than I ever thought possible. If you want a classic, delicious, and simple turkey, follow this recipe and you’ll be golden!
Easy 5 Ingredient Turkey
- 1 turkey (I used a 16 pounder, but you can adjust the ingredients and cook time up or down for a bigger or smaller bird)
- 2 big onions, cut into quarters (I used Vidalias)
- 2 lemons, cut in half
- 4 sprigs of rosemary (get the little plastic pack in the refrigerated veggie case – you can use the extras as garnish or cut them up and use them as part of your place settings)
- 1 stick butter (get the real stuff – Thanksgiving is not the time to skimp on calories)
You’ll also need salt and pepper and 4 cups of water. But I figure you probably have those on hand :)
- Roasting rack and pan
- Meat thermometer
- Preheat your over to 325 degrees.
- Remove the giblets from the inside of the turkey, rinse the bird, and pat dry with paper towel.
- Salt the inside of the turkey cavity.
- Squeeze the juice of the lemons inside of the cavity.
- Stuff the turkey cavity with the squeezed lemons, rosemary springs, and 2 of the onion quarters.
- Place your turkey on the roasting rack inside of the roasting pan.
- Add the giblets, the remaining onion quarters, and 4 cups of water into the bottom of the roasting pan. Do not pour the water over the turkey.
- Generously sprinkle the skin of the turkey with salt and pepper.
- Rub the stick of butter all over the skin of the turkey. Really massage it on there. This will ensure juicy meat and a brown, crispy skin.
- Put the turkey in the oven and roast for about 3 – 4 hours, depending on the size of your bird.
- You’ll want to baste the skin of the bird every half hour. I just used a big serving spoon to scoop the juices from the bottom of the pan, but you could use a turkey baster too. If the skin is getting too brown for your liking, just cover the pan with foil.
- In order to be sure the bird is done, you want the breast meat to be at 170 degrees. So when you think it’s getting close (around the minimum suggested cooking time), pull it out, stick the thermometer into the chubbiest part of the breast and get a good reading. If it’s not 170, put it back in for another 15 minutes and repeat that process.
- Once the meat is up to temperature, remove the turkey from the pan and set on a cutting board to rest for about 20 minutes. I made a loose, foil tent over it just to keep the heat in a little better. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, so every bite is juicy and delicious. This step is VERY important. Otherwise, you’ll cut into the bird and all of the juices that settled to the bottom will just end up on your cutting board, and you’ll have drier meat.
- Finally, carve that turkey and serve it up on a platter. You can garnish with the extra rosemary sprigs, and you could add a couple of lemons to the platter for a little color.
This recipe may not be the fanciest or the ‘chef-iest’, but it is truly foolproof, and you’ll end up with a delicious, juicy turkey that everyone will love. I tried to break it all down the best I could, but if you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll be glad to help you out.
Later this week I’ll have a gravy recipe to die for, and also some great side dish and dessert ideas. All of the recipes work well together and can be spaced out so your day is easily manageable. The goal is a simple, foolproof, yet absolutely delicious feast that everyone will be raving over. You can do this!