I knew I needed to find a recipe packed with flavor and would remain moist! I found it with the help of cafedelites.com and some modifications on my end - extra butter!
Prepping your turkey is key - remove organs, rinse well and pat dry. Let the turkey come to room temperature for up to three hours before cooking! This will allow the turkey to cook evenly.
Simple spices and butter is the key to this fabulous turkey. Also turning it over after the first hour helps to ensure it is browned everywhere! The skin gets crispy and turkey is so moist - remember it will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven so take out as soon as it reaches 165 degrees with your meat thermometer! My 16.5 pound Slagel Family Farm fresh turkey took around 3.5 hours to cook - (ovens vary) allow time for it to sit before carving.
- 12 pound (6 kg) whole turkey, skin on (fully defrosted, washed, giblets and neck removed)
- 3 heads garlic cut in half horizontally divided
- 3 slices lemon divided
- 6 sprigs thyme divided
- 6 sprigs rosemary divided
- 1/2 cup olive oil divided
- 4 ounces (125 g) unsalted butter (+ extra butter on hand for additional roasting touch ups)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- Cracked Pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F | 220°C for standard ovens, or 390°F | 200°C for fan forced. Lower oven shelf to the lowest part of your oven.
- Melt butter and add the Herb Butter ingredients and mix well. Reserve half of the herb butter in the refrigerator for later.
- Line a large roasting pan with parchment paper. Arrange the 4 halves of garlic cut-side down on the bottom of the pan with 4 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary, half of the olive oil and 1 slice of lemon.
- Thoroughly pat turkey dry with paper towels. Stuff with the remaining heads garlic halves, lemon slice, a squeeze of lemon from remaining slice, herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Brush 1/2 of Herb Butter all over the turkey. Season generously all over with salt and pepper. Place turkey on top of the garlic and herbs in the pan BREAST-SIDE DOWN. Drizzle with the remaining oil.
- Roast uncovered for 30 minutes for a small turkey under 13 pounds (6 1/2 kg), or 45 minutes for a larger turkey over 14 pounds (7 kg plus).
- Turn turkey over (breast-side up) with clean oven safe mits (heat-proof gloves) and baste with pan juices.
- Melt reserved herb butter, brush over turkey. Pour any remaining juices over your turkey.
- Reduce heat to 325°F |165°C (for standard ovens), or 300°F | 150°C (fan-forced). Roast for an hour.
- If turkey is not golden brown in all places you can brush on some extra melted butter in spots and roast for 30 minutes. Baste again, then continue roasting for a further 30 minutes or so, depending on the size of your bird until your thermometer reaches 165 degrees between the breast and leg.
(For an extra large turkey, you may need an additional half hour to an hour. Tent loosely with foil if starting to brown too fast.)
- Tent turkey with foil and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving and serving.
- Remove pan juices strain and reserve for your gravy.
For an extra large turkey, you may need an additional hour. I recommend using a meat thermometer to read the internal temperature and make your life easier.
Generally, turkey needs to cook 13-15 minutes per pound.
Use a meat thermometer inserted between the breast and leg. It should read 165°F | 75°C. This is the USDA recommended internal cooked temperature of turkey.