Ten steps for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey

Posted at 5:03 PM, Nov 22, 2016

In preparation for the big day on Thursday, News 5 took the time to learn exactly how to cook the perfect turkey for Thanksgiving. Broken down into ten steps, Resident Chef at Sur la Table in Westlake gave us the scoop. 

The ten steps are: 

1. Leave your turkey out for one hour at room temperature

2. Brine the turkey for 24 hours before by massaging salt under the skin, using 2 tsp. per side. 

3. Add parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme to butter and rub onto the turkey (after tying the legs and tucking the turkey wings under).

4. Chop onion, carrot, and celery to add to the pan and place the turkey in the oven for 60 minutes. Check halfway through and add a cup of stock to keep drippings moist.

5. Prep butter and flour with stock for gravy.

6. Check the turkey after an hour and turn the heat down to 350° F. Baste the turkey with drippings from inside the pan and keep roasting until the fattest part of the thigh registers at 170° F. 

7. Add drippings from the pan to the gravy. 


8. Start by cutting the turkey at the leg at the separation between the breast and the thigh. Find the next joint and cut the thigh.

9. Separate the wing and the drumstick and then find the breast bone and cut to the left of it and repeat. 

10. Cover with gravy -- and EAT. 


Dry-Brined Turkey with Savory Herb Butter - Yields 10 to 12 servings

Dont forget to purchase your turkey for enough in advance to account for thawing and brining times, at least four days for a twelve pound turkey.

1 (12-14 pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed and reserved for stock

2 to 3 tablespoons sea salt

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley, thyme, sage, and rosemary leaves

1 to 2 cups poultry stock, plus more as needed

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces

2 large carrots, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces

2 large stalks celery, trimmed and diced into 1-inch pieces

For dry brining: Wash the turkey thoroughly in cold water and pat completely dry with paper towels. Place the turkey into the roasting pan and run your hand gently between the skin and meat to loosen the skin, being careful not to tear the skin. Loosen as much skin as possible over the breasts, legs, and thighs. Rub the meat under the skin with salt to coat the meat evenly, again taking care not to rip the skin. Transfer turkey uncovered to the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours. 

To dress and roast turkey: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place a rack in the lower third. Remove turkey from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes. In a small bowl, combine butter with the chopped herbs and stir to combine. Rub the turkey with the butter mixture, coating all parts equally. If needed, gently stretch the skin to cover breast meat completely. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs together at the ankles and tuck wing tips under breasts. 

Place a heavy roasting rack inside a large roasting pan and lightly oil the rack. Place turkey breast-side up on a roasting rack. Move turkey to oven and roast for 60 minutes. After 30 minutes add one cup of stock to the roasting pan to prevent pan drippings from scorching. 

After 60 minutes, remove roasting pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Baste with pan juices. Scatter onion, carrot, and celery pieces across the bottom of roasting pan, stirring to coat with pan juices. Return turkey to oven and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, 2 hours or more, depending on weight. Remove turkey from the oven, place roasting pan on a heatproof surface, and tent turkey loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Rest the turkey for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Strain pan drippings, pressing on solids to remove liquid and de-grease drippings to make gravy. 

To serve: Remove legs and thighs using a sharp cutting knife. Slice breasts into 1/4 inch slices and place on a serving platter with legs and thighs. Serve immediately. 

To find out more about Sur la Table's cooking classes, head over to their website