Actually the turkey can be one of the easiest parts of the Thanksgiving meal. Prep it two to three days ahead with dry brine for a delicious and tender bird. Honestly this has been our traditional way of making Thanksgiving turkey for years. Pop it into the oven on Thanksgiving Day it allows hours of time for everything else.
Dry Brine Turkey Preparation (2-3 days ahead):
Ingredients and prep items:
One turkey (approximately 18 lbs)
One stick melted butter, divided in half
4 tablespoons Seasoned Salt
2 celery stalks with leaves cut in half
2 carrots cut in half
2 onions cut in half
Sprig of fresh parsley
Sprig of fresh sage
Sprig of fresh rosemary
Sprig of fresh thyme
2 strips bacon
Large roasting pan and rack
1. Remove and use the gizzards and neck from the turkey for a small stock pot or discard.
2. Dry the turkey inside and out generously with paper towels and discard the towels immediately.
3. Add 1/2 stick melted butter under the breast skin, by gently separating the breast skin from the turkey, making a pocket. Rub 2 tablespoons of seasoned salt under the separated breast skin.
4. Rub the turkey cavity with 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt and fill with fresh vegetables and herbs.
5. Squeeze lemon over the surface of turkey, then discard lemon . Rub the remaining 1/2 of melted butter on the outside of the turkey , Sprinkle with the remaining Seasoned Salt. Cover loosely for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
6. Thanksgiving or Roasting Day: Remove Covering from turkey and top with bacon. Bake uncovered at 325º F preferably in a convection using a meat thermometer and the USDA Turkey Roasting Guidelines. If turkey or turkey wings is/are browned before roasting is complete - baste it once and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
7. Remove from oven when it reaches at least 165ºF on the thickest part (inner thigh) with a meat thermometer (not touching any bone.) Cover tightly with aluminum foil and then plastic wrap- this seals in juices. Rest for 20 minutes and carve.
Suggestion: Serve with Stuffing/Stuffing Muffins