Basic Recipe for Roasting a Pastured Turkey

red bourbons
red bourbons
  1. The night before roasting, season the turkey inside and out with generous amounts of salt and pepper (or coat it in a dry brine). Cover and refrigerate.
  2. At least 5 hours before you plan to serve dinner, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and allow it to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  3. Set the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Using your fingertips, loosen the skin and rub the bird all over with butter or olive oil, making sure to get some inside the skin on top of the breasts. Stuff the cavity with sprigs of fresh herbs, lemon halves, apple slices, onions, garlic, or whatever fruits and vegetables you have on hand. Tuck the wingtips under the bird.
  4. Pour 2 cups of wine, beer, turkey broth, or a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 cup apple juice into the roasting pan. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F. Baste the turkey with the pan juices and tent it with foil. Let it roast for 1 hour, basting after 30 minutes. Remove the foil, baste once more, and roast the turkey for another 30 minutes.
  5. After the turkey has roasted for 2 hours total, test the fleshiest part of one thigh and the thickest part of one breast with an instant-read thermometer, making sure to avoid the bone. (If you’re cooking a turkey that weighs less than 12 pounds, you should check the temperature after 1 hour.) Remove the turkey from the oven as soon as the thigh meat registers 165°F.
  6. Place the roasted turkey on a large, channeled cutting board, cover it with foil, and let it rest on the counter for 30 to 45 minutes before carving.