Perfect holiday meals are all about timing. Purchase a fresh turkey at least four days before roasting to ensure a memorable, mouth-watering main dish.
- 1 14-pound (approximate) fresh whole turkey
- 1 stick unsalted butter, (more if desired)
- Kosher salt
- Three days before serving: Remove giblets from turkey cavity and reserve for stock. Rinse turkey well under cold running water. Brine the turkey in large stockpot or brining bag for 2 days in the refrigerator. Prepare a brining solution using the following formula: for each 1 cup of water, dissolve 1 tablespoon kosher salt – enough to completely submerge the turkey. Place in the refrigerator for two days.
- One day before serving, remove the turkey from brine solution (discard the brine) and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to dry for 24 hours. Be sure that any turkey drippings will be caught by the baking sheet, so raw turkey juice does not contaminate other foods.
- On day of serving, remove the turkey from the refrigerator one hour before roasting. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F and melt 1 stick of butter in a saucepan. Cut a double layer of cheesecloth large enough to drape over the turkey. Place the cheesecloth in the pan with the melted butter to saturate the cheesecloth. Drape the cheesecloth over the turkey and tuck the cheesecloth into the sides of the turkey, covering it completely.
- Place the turkey in a deep roasting pan and roast until the internal temperature of the thickest part if the turkey thigh reaches 165°F. If desired, but not required, baste the turkey with additional melted butter 1 time each hour. Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest 30 minutes before carving.
- Pour off fat and discard. Deglaze pan for gravy (see recipe link below for Joanne’s Double Stock Turkey Gravy).