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Brined Turkey with Herb Butter

Brined Turkey with Herb Butter
To ensure an exceptionally juicy and flavorful turkey, this recipe calls for brining the bird and also rubbing it with a compound butter. During brining, the seasoned saltwater penetrates the meat, drawing in moisture and other flavorings. The compound butter, made by combining room-temperature butter with our turkey herbs, is rubbed under the skin and on the outside of the bird. The butter melts into the meat, as the turkey roasts, so it stays moist and emerges with a crisp, golden-brown skin.

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar turkey brine—autumn fruit and spices
  • 1 fresh turkey, about 16 lb., neck, heart and
     gizzard removed (reserved, if desired)
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
     temperature
  • 4 tsp. turkey herbs
  • 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Prepare the turkey brine and brine the turkey according to the package instructions. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter, turkey herbs and pepper until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes.

Gently slide your fingers under the breast to loosen the skin and work your fingers down to the thigh, being careful not to tear the skin. Spread half of the butter mixture evenly under the skin, then spread the remaining mixture evenly on the outside of the turkey. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine.

Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. After about 2 1/2 hours of total roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. If the breast begins to cook too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. Total roasting time should be 3 to 3 3/4 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for about 20 minutes before carving.
Serves 12.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.