Love Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, as much as I do? Then be sure to check out how to make Ina Garten's Perfectly Roasted Turkey. This original recipe is pure perfection and would be great to serve on Thanksgiving Day.
I have been a long-time fan of Ina Garten. In fact, when I first started watching Paula Deen and learned how to make Paula Deen's House Seasoning, I discovered Ina Garten.
She quickly became one of my favorite Food Network chef personalities because she seemed approachable and her food looked amazing.
Her style of cooking just really spoke to me. Everything always looks upscale but with minimal prep and ingredients, which is how I like to cook. One of the first recipes I made was these Ina Garten Lemon Bars. Then I ventured out this past summer and made her Summer Pasta Salad.
When I learned about Ina's recipe and her method for the most perfectly roasted turkey, I knew I was going to have to give it a try.
How to Make This Perfect Roast Turkey
Ina does dry brining for her turkeys. I have always only done a wet brine with butter and olive oil, so doing a dry brine really intrigued me.
Two or three days before you plan to roast the turkey, combine 3 tablespoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of minced fresh thyme sprigs, some black pepper, and lemon zest from one lemon.
Be sure to dry your turkey off well with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the salt mixture in the cavity of the turkey and rub the rest on the skin, including under the wings and legs.
Ina uses a shallow dish to put her turkey in. The dish is just big enough to hold the turkey and then she wraps it with some plastic wrap. You can do this up to two days ahead of cooking it.
When you are ready to roast the turkey, remove the wrap and allow the turkey to stay in the fridge for a few hours. The skin will dry out and turn a little translucent.
Now, I have only ever cooked a whole turkey in one piece, at one temperature. But Ina breaks it down even more and has us cooking the turkey, then trimming some off, and cooking more.
If cooking a whole turkey is daunting to you, then you can always make a Herb Roasted Turkey Breast. Fresh turkey and fresh herbs make a great pairing and will be the most amazing main dish at your get-together this year.
How Ina Cooks her turkey
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the turkey in a large roasting pan, discarding any juices in the dish. Place the other veggies that you chopped up on a cutting board on the inside of the turkey cavity. You can add a little more kosher salt if you like.
Tie the legs together with the kitchen twine and make sure the wings are tucked close to the body. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.
Roast the turkey for 2 to 2¼ hours, until the breast meat registers 165 degrees (put the thermometer in sideways) on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove from the oven and place the hot turkey on a platter. Now, at this point, Ina cuts off the legs and thighs and puts them back into the roasting pan. She then covers the breast and body of the turkey tightly with aluminum foil.
The legs and thighs go back into the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dark meat registers 180 degrees.
Now, you can plate all the turkey on an oven-proof platter and let it all rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. This is the best turkey I have ever tasted in my life.
Ina Garten's perfectly roasted Thanksgiving turkey hits the spot every single time. I love how easy this is to make and how wonderful it tastes. That dry brine really does it for me.
Of course, you always need a bed of gravy and mashed potatoes with slices of the turkey laid on top of the gravy. Serve it with a side of green beans and rolls for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. This meal is great for large or small gatherings.
Check Out These Other Thanksgiving Dinner recipes
- Moist Maker Friends Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich
- Green Bean Bundles – The Perfect Thanksgiving Side Dish
- Over 100 Super Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes Anyone Can Make
For the Dry Brine
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
For the Turkey
- 1 (12- to 14-pound) fresh turkey
- 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled and cut in eighths
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- Two or three days before you plan to roast the turkey, combine 3 tablespoons of salt, the minced thyme, and lemon zest.
- Wash the turkey inside and out, drain it well, and pat it all over with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the salt mixture in the cavity of the turkey and rub the rest on the skin, including under the wings and legs.
- Place the turkey in a shallow dish just large enough to hold it and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one or two days.
- The day before you plan to roast the turkey, remove the plastic wrap, and leave the turkey in the fridge. The skin will dry out and turn a little translucent.
- ON THE DAY YOU ARE COOKING THE TURKEY -- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the turkey in a large roasting pan, discarding any juices in the dish. Place the onion, lemon, and thyme sprigs in the cavity.
- With kitchen string, tie the legs together and the wings close to the body. Brush the turkey with the butter and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast the turkey for 2 to 2¼ hours, until the breast meat registers 165 degrees (put the thermometer in sideways) on an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove from the oven and place the turkey on a platter. Cut off the legs and thighs and put them back into the roasting pan, covering the breast and carcass tightly with aluminum foil.
- Place the roasting pan back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the dark meat registers 180 degrees.
- Remove the dark meat to the platter with the turkey, cover it tightly with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 74Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 79mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g