Recipe: Dry-Brined Turkey Roasted in Parts

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 See how this recipe was developed here.

Want juicy turkey, crisp skin, and an easier time spent carving? Dry-brine and roast your turkey in parts.

About this recipe
  • You will need a Halal turkey thawed and ready at least 1 day before roasting, ideally 3 days before
  • The broth can be made and vegetables prepped 1 to 3 days in advance, saving you time; just keep everything in the fridge
  • If you don’t have a cooling rack or baking sheet, you can slow roast the turkey directly over the bed of vegetables in a traditional roasting rack
  • If using a large bird weighing 20 lbs or more, increase your slow roasting time by 40%
  • The amount of salt suggested for turkey is 1 tbsp per every four lbs of turkey, with
  • This recipe calls for table salt because Kosher salt strength varies between brands
Equipment needed
  • Half sheet rimmed baking sheet, 13×18 inches ($15)
  • Cooling rack, 12×17 inches ($10)
  • Probe meat thermometer ($52 or $25)

Total Time: 1 day, up to 3 days
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 2-3 hours
Yield: 1 roast turkey
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients

For the turkey

1 Halal turkey, 14-16 lbs
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp table salt
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp Dried herbs (thyme, sage, all spice, or any of your choice)
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 medium stalks of celery, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic
Fresh thyme

For the broth

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 turkey neck and 1 backbone, cut into large chunks
½ large onion, roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, quartered
1 stalk celery, quartered
6 cups water
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp whole black peppercorns

For the gravy

1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 tbsp butter
1 bay leaf

Instructions

1. Cut the turkey into parts.

[Photos: Saqib Shafi]

[Photos: Saqib Shafi]

Place the turkey on a large, secured plastic cutting board with the legs facing you. Using a sharp boning knife with the turkey facing you, cut the skin between the leg and breast until the leg is separated. Bend the entire leg quarter back until the thigh bone pops from its joint. Cut through the joint to separate the leg quarters and remove entire leg quarter meat from turkey. Repeat with other leg. Cut the wings in a similar manner, cutting around its connection to the breast, bending it to pop the bone and cutting through the joints to remove the wings. Using kitchen shears, cut the breast out of the back of the turkey leaving the entire breast in one piece. If desired, cut out the wish bone. Bend the turkey’s back in half and separate into two pieces. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the turkey neck in half. Set back and neck aside for gravy.

2. Season turkey and let rest in fridge

me_turkey_2015_03_salt-mixture_under_skin

Combine salt, dried herbs, pepper in a small bowl. Being careful not to rip or tear the skin, separate it from the meat by shoving your fingers in between the skin and meat. Evenly rub the salt mixture between the skin and meat applying more to the breasts. Transfer turkey to sheet, tray, or aluminum pan and let rest in the fridge uncovered for at least 1 day, ideally up to 3.

3. Make the broth

me_turkey_2015_05_turkey_broth

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the neck and backbone pieces and cook, tossing occassionally, until brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, water, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid reduces in half to 3 cups, about 1½ hours. Strain the broth and refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Roast the turkey in a low-temp oven

me_turkey_2015_06_slow_roast

Heat to 275° F. Place carrots, celery, onions, garlic, thyme on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Place the cooling rack into the baking sheet. Arrange the turkey pieces over the cooling rack skin side up with the entire breast skin side down. Pour one cup of broth into the baking sheet and carefully transfer to oven. Roast for 1 hour, then carefully flip the entire breast using tongs and place a thermometer in the thickest of of its meat. Continue roasting until the breast meat reaches 150° F and the legs, thighs, and wings reach 170° F, removing the parts as they finish.

5. Rest the turkey parts, strain the juices

me_turkey_2015_07_rest_meat_temp

Remove the turkey from the oven and transfer parts to a large platter. Let rest for thirty minutes or up to 1½ hours. Meanwhile, pour the juices from the baking sheet through a fine mesh strainer into a four cup liquid measuring cup, discarding the spent vegetables. Add the turkey broth until you have three cups of liquid total.

6. Make the gravy

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In a medium post or sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat until the foaming subsides. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is dark golden brown and smells nutty. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the broth mixture until the flour mixture is fully dissolves. Add bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the gravy reduces to 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, set aside to keep warm.

7. Finish the turkey and serve

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One hour before serving, preheat oven to 500° F. Place turkey back on the cooling rack and transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Roast until the skin is well-browned and crisp, about 15 minutes, taking pieces out that brown before others. Let pieces rest for 20 minutes, carve, and transfer to a well-warmed platter. Serve.

 

 See how this recipe was developed here.

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