Roasting a turkey does not have to be complicated but it does need some time and patience. I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart, where 24 hours before roasting, you submerge the turkey in a brine and let sit over night. This really allows the turkey to be moist when cooked. Having said that, if you don't have time to brine your turkey, this step can be skipped, but is really recommended.
1 whole turkey (15-20 lbs, depending on the crowd you're having)
3/4 cup of butter, softened at room temperature, divided
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper
1 loaf of white bread, cut into cubes
2 large onions, roughly chopped
4 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
1 lb of mushrooms, cleaned with paper towel then roughly chopped
Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic salt, summer savory, onion powder, thyme, poultry seasoning, basil, parsley (roughly 1 tsp each)
24 cups of water, divided
1 1/2 cups of salt
1 cup of sugar
1 large onion, cut into quarters
2 large carrots, roughly cut
2 celery sticks, roughly cut
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp of dried thyme
1 tbsp of dried parsley
1 tbsp of whole black peppercorns
Step 1: 24 hours before cooking the turkey, make the turkey brine. In a pot, add 8 cups of water, salt, sugar, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves and herbes and spices. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer, stirring, allowing everything to combine and mix. Make sure the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Step 2: In a very large pot (5 gallon pot), add the remaining 16 cups of water. Stir in the cooled brine mixture and mix together. Submerge the turkey in the pot, making sure the turkey is completely covered. Set in the fridge for 24 hours.
Step 3: 2 hours before cooking the turkey, remove the turkey from the brine and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
Step 4: Preheat the oven to 425 F. Meanwhile, make your stuffing. In a large bowl, add the cubed bread, chopped celery, onions and mushrooms. Season everything with the spices, adding more if needed. Set aside till use.
Step 5: In a bowl, mix together the soft butter with the garlic cloves. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
Step 6: Remove the giblets from the turkey and stuff the turkey as much as you can with the stuffing. I use the heel of bread to cover the stuffing inside the turkey.
Step 7: Rub some garlic butter all over the turkey, and get under the skin at the breasts (go in as far as you can, without tearing the skin too much). With the rest of the butter, melt in the microwave and reserve for brushing the turkey as it bakes.
Step 8: Place the oven rack in the lowest part. Place the turkey in a large roaster on top of the roaster rack. Add the giblets at the bottom of the roasting pan. Bake for 30 minutes, take out of the oven and reduce the heat to 350F. Brush the turkey with a little bit of melted butter. Place the turkey back in the oven.
Step 9: At 30 minute intervals, baste the turkey and brush some butter on the turkey. After 2 hours, take the internal temperature of the turkey at the thigh. You want the internal temperature to be 165-170 F. This may take another 1, 1-1/2 hours.
Step 10: When the turkey is cooked fully, place the turkey on a large board or platter and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Carve the turkey and take the stuffing out. Serve.