1bottle of dry white winesuch as Sauvingon Blanc or Pinot Girgio
1 to 3 days Before Roasting: Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and discard or save for gravy (recipe coming soon!). Brine the turkey, using either a wet brine or a dry brine (wet brine goal is 12 to 24 hours; dry brine goal is 24 to 48 hours; ANY brining is better than none).**
1 Day Before or the Morning of Roasting - Let the Skin Dry Out: For a wet brine - Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse thoroughly. Pat very dry with paper towels, then place on a rimmed baking sheet or shallow pan to catch any drips. Place in the refrigerator, uncovered. For a dry brine - Uncover the turkey (it will already be on a baking sheet) and return to the refrigerator. For both methods - Let the turkey sit uncovered in the fridge until you are ready to roast—a few hours if you uncovered it that morning, or for up to 24 hours. This step dries the skin, which is important in order for it to crisp. The skin will turn somewhat translucent as it sits.
1 Hour Before Roasting - Let Come to Room Temperature - Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature. Now is a good time to make sure you removed the plastic attachment from the legs.
30 Minutes Before Roasting - Preheat the Oven to 450 degrees F - Place the rack in the lowest position and move or remove any other racks that are going to get in the turkey's way. Preheat to 450 degrees F. Let it preheat for a good 20 to 30 minutes to make sure it's screamin' hot.
Chop the Aromatics - If the carrots are large, cut them in half lengthwise, then chop into 1-inch pieces. Cut the apples, onion, and lemon into eights (no need to peel anything or to core the apple). Cut the head of garlic in half crosswise (that's horizontally through the cloves), then break each half into 4 big pieces (no need to peel).
Stuff the Cavity - Stuff the turkey cavity with all of the thyme and about half each of the carrots, apples, onion, lemon, and garlic. Scatter the remaining carrots, apple, onion, lemon, and garlic in the bottom of a very large roasting pan.
Tie, Butter, and Pepper - Tuck the turkey's wings underneath its body by stretching them up and tucking them under the turkey's body (as if the turkey were stretching its wings up and behind its neck). With kitchen twine or (in a pinch) a rope of aluminum foil, tie the legs snugly together. Place a rack in the roasting pan (see blog post above to make your own rack using foil), then lift the turkey onto the rack. Brush the turkey all over with the melted butter. Sprinkle with black pepper.
Add the Wine + Roast at a High Temperature for 45 minutes - Place the turkey on the lowest oven rack. Carefully pour the wine into the roasting pan, leaving at least 2 inches of open space at the top of the pan (if you're using a large pan, the whole bottle should fit). Roast the turkey at 450 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Reduce the Oven Temperature to 325 degrees F - If you have one that is oven safe, insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh without it touching bone (a digital one with an alarm set to 160 degrees is ideal; if you don't have one, no worries a regular meat thermometer is great). Roast the turkey for 1 to 1 ½ hours more (a 14- to 16-pound turkey will need 2 to 2 ½ hours total roasting time), until the thigh registers at least 160 degrees F and up to 180 degrees F and the breast is at least 155 degrees F (and no more than 165 degrees F) on an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat without the thermometer touching bone - per the FDA turkey is considered cooked at 165 degrees F, but its temperature will rise as it rests. DO NOT OVERCOOK THE TURKEY. I remove mine at 155 F for the breast and 160 F to 170 F for the thigh. If the breast starts to get too dark or is progressing much more quickly than the thigh, tent the breast only with foil (I fold foil into a triangle with the point facing the legs). Check early to be safe, and see How Long to Cook a Turkey for more information.
Let Rest - Transfer the turkey to a cutting board. Cover and let rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes. If you are making Turkey Gravy, do it now—the turkey will be so juicy, it's not strictly necessary for the meat.
Carve, Serve, Bask in the Glory - Carve the turkey and serve with the pan juices and/or gravy. Listen to your friends oohhh and ahhhh. YOU DID IT!
TURKEY THAW TIMES: For every 5 pounds of turkey, plan on 24 hours thawing in the refrigerator (that's 3 days thawing for a 15-pound bird). For faster thawing, place the turkey in a cold water bath and change the water every 30 minutes. This will still take about 8 hours for a 15-pound turkey. Because it's hard to have a turkey hogging the refrigerator for such an extended period, I prefer to purchase turkey fresh from a local butcher or the farmer's market (check with your grocery's meat department too; they may be able to order or thaw one ahead for you). You also can thaw turkey in a cooler, provided it is kept below 40 degrees F.
BE FLEXIBLE. A LOT will affect your turkey cooking times (including if you open the oven a lot towards the end to check the turkey's temperature, which is understandable). Give yourself grace and a buffer in case the time goes over.
IF YOUR TURKEY IS LARGER OR SMALLER THAN 14 to 16 POUNDS: Plan on 10 to 12 minutes per pound when roasting at 325 degrees F. Since this turkey starts at a higher temperature, I recommend subtracting 15 minutes for every pound less than 14 pounds (so if your turkey is 13 pounds, check 15 minutes early; if it's 12 pounds check 30 minutes early, etc). and adding 10 minutes for every pound (if your turkey is 17 pounds, plan on 2 hours, 10 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes, if it's 18 pounds, 2 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 50 minutes, etc.). Turkey times are not 100% predictable no matter how many times you've made them, so have some snacks and drinks on hand, hang with guests, and enjoy the process.
SHOULD I DO A WET OR DRY BRINE? **I have done both brining methods and am partial to the dry brine for the ease. The wet brine produces a turkey that is a *little* juicier and plumper but both methods make excellent, juicy turkey.
TO STORE: Refrigerate turkey in an airtight storage container or ziptop bag for up to 4 days. To keep the meat moist, drizzle a little of the turkey drippings or broth over the top before refrigerating it.
TO REHEAT: Wrap the turkey in an aluminum foil pouch, sealing it at the edges. Drizzle turkey drippings or broth over the meat before sealing. Warm the pouch in a baking dish in a 300 degrees F oven.
TO FREEZE: Freeze turkey in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
The nutrition information is based on the turkey meat and butter.