Want a great tip to keep your holiday roasted turkey from drying out? I like to make a compound butter with mixed, chopped herbs and other flavor weapons to keep that meat juicy, tender and packed with flavor!
This Roasted Turkey with Compound Butter Rub was a huge hit this past weekend. As a food blogger, our house is usually taste testing and trying new recipes out about 3-4 weeks ahead of the actual holiday.
Actually, I think I’ve made several big feasts to share with friends already. And with Christmas right the around the corner I wanted to share with you a great idea to keep your roasted turkey super moist and full of flavor. Who needs a dried out bird, right?
I’m not a huge ham fan because I can get them often throughout the year, but turkeys are our pick for holiday dining. Especially because you get so much out of it. Initially the big feast, then the leftovers for sandwiches and dinners, then there is soup. I also like to use the leftover turkey for a fantastic casserole, but that will have to wait for another post!
So for this compound butter rub I take all the ingredients and puree them in a food processor until it resembles a smooth paste. Starting from the cavity opening, breast side up, use one hand and get between the meat of the breast and legs and separate the skin, being careful not to break through, and then rub the compound butter rub between the meat and skin. With your other hand smooth and uniformly spread the compound butter evenly as best you can from on top of the skin.
See all those wonder herbs and butter just under the skin in the below picture. This will definitely ensure a super moist and flavorful roasted turkey. I baste often while my turkey is roasting, too. The aroma is incredible, trust.
Roast your turkey as you normally would per weight. This was a 19 pound turkey I roasted for almost 4 hours. I had the wing tips covered in aluminum foil and halfway through the roasting time removed them. I hate burned wing tips.
I hope you give this compound butter a try with your turkey for your holiday dinner.
I usually stuff the turkey cavity with a quartered lemon and 2 halved shallots as well. The result is a fantastic, moist and flavorful turkey and the gravy that can be made from the pan dripping is off the hook good!
If you like the compound butter on the roasted turkey, check out my Individual Beef Wellingtons with Caramelized Onions and Bleu Cheese Rosemary Compound Butter and Smoked Ahi with Compound Butter. Enjoy!
Roasting and Carving a Turkey
- 15 lb turkey (See Note 3)
- 8 oz compound herb butter
- 1 lemon quartered
- 1 medium onion quartered
- several sprigs each thyme, sage and rosemary
- black pepper
- Place the turkey on a clean surface. Remove the bag that contains the neck, heart and gizzard from inside the turkey (See Note 1). Rinse the turkey both inside and out with cold water. Dry thoroughly with paper towels all over.
- Using one hand push your fingers under the skin and move gently on top of the meat to separate skin from meat all over as best you can. Take the compound butter in small amounts and generously slather under the skin, pressing on top of skin to move the butter and cover all over turkey breasts and legs as best you can.
- Add the quartered lemon, onion and herb bundle inside the turkey cavity. Slip the leg ends back into the (typically provided) heat proof plastic connector to keep the legs together or tie the legs together with kitchen twine to hold everything inside. This is called trussing.
- Pull the wing tips forward and tuck the tips inward and behind the bird’s back. This prevents the tips from burning during cooking. (See Note 2). Liberally season with kosher salt and pepper all over.
- Spray a roasting rack set inside a rimmed roasting pan with cooking spray or oil. Lift the turkey onto the roasting rack. Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil (shiny side up) for most of the roasting time. I remove it one hour prior to being done to brown the skin.
- Roast for 3.5 hours at 400°F. See Note 1 for other cooking times and weights of turkey. The turkey is cooked when it reaches an internal cooking temperature of 165°F.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest, tented with foil, for at least 20 minutes prior to carving.
- If your turkey weighs 12 to 14 pounds, roast it at:
425°F for 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours,
400°F for 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours,
350°F for 2 3/4 to 3 hours,
325°F for 3 to 3 3/4 hours
- If your turkey weighs 15 to 16 pounds, roast it at:
425°F for 3 to 3 1/4 hours,
400°F for 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 hours,
350°F for 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 hours,
325°F for 3 3/4 to 4 hours,
- If your turkey weighs 18 to 20 pounds, roast it at:
425°F for 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 hours,
400°F for 3 3/4 to 4 hours,
350°F for 4 to 4 1/4 hours,
325°F for 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
- If your turkey weighs 21 to 22 pounds, roast it at:
425°F for 4 to 4 1/4 hours,
400°F for 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours,
350°F for 4 1/2 to 4 3/4,
325°F for 4 3/4 to 5 hours
- If your turkey weighs 24 pounds, roast it at:
425°F for 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours,
400°F for 4 1/2 to 4 3/4 hours,
350°F for 4 3/4 to 5 hours,
325°F for 5 to 5 1/4 hours
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.