The Best Turkey Recipe Ever!

Who is ready for turkey tomorrow?! Yaaaaay! The holidays happening around this time are some of the most fun and memory evoking ones. Thanksgiving is an important one for me. There's always something life changing that happens; it's like my version of Lorelai Gilmores relationship with the first snow. Last year, I decided to take a leap and make the entire Thanksgiving meal, which went swimmingly. The year before that, I requested Thanksgiving dinner about four times throughout the year because that's all I was craving during my pregnancy. It's a thing, right?! Until last year, I was positive that I didn't know how to cook. I so badly wanted to be a really great cook, the kind that makes people wander into my kitchen and not speak at all during the meal. You know that kind, right? I had convinced myself for my entire adolescent life that cooking was just not my forte, but then I made this turkey. It was... incredible. Juicy, tender, crispy skin, mmmmmmmm. So good. And then I knew, hey, I can cook! And I started making pies and pizzas and whatever else. But this turkey was my gateway drug to the kitchen. And it's really not difficult at all! Thank you, Josh + Brent for teaching me how to cook!! I've added my own tweaks to this recipe, but you can find the original Beekman recipe in their Heirloom Cookbook!

We love having a late lunch, early dinner Thanksgiving. It somehow always happens that way. Today we are traveling back to Chicago to spend the holiday with my grandma, where I will again be making this delicious bird tomorrow. When I made this turkey last week #fortheinstagram, I started around 9 AM, and lunch was ready around 1 PM after making the rest of the dishes - if you need a timeframe! Before I give you the recipe, if you struggle with timing out your turkey here's a little cheat chart. My bird was a little over 11 lbs, so I let it soak in water overnight, and it was ready for prepping in the morning. I cooked it for 3 hours, which left it a little pink around the edges. I probably should have cooked it for another 20-30 minutes, but it was still wonderful! I also had the best little helper. I've recently discovered that a step stool near the counter has been a lifesaver when it comes to cooking!! We are usually arguing back and forth about him getting into things (like the bottom cabinets and pantry), but now that he can "participate" in the cooking process, Tad has been lovely while I am working with our food! I give him a few measuring cups and spoons, keep everything dangerous out of reach, and we cook/bake together! 

INGREDIENTS // 

  • 1 turkey 10-14 lbs, rinsed and patted dry, with the neck, giblets, and liver removed (keep these!)
  • 1/4 cup salt, preferably kosher
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 naval orange
  • 1 lime
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2-3 walnuts, hazelnuts, or chestnuts
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups bourbon
  • 1/3 cup flour

RECIPE // 

  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, sugar, and chili powder. Season the turkey by running your fingers under the breast and thigh skin to season and then gently rub over the top of the skin with about 2/3 of the mixture. With the rest of the mixture, rub down the cavity of the turkey. Pierce the outside of the lime and orange with a fork to let the juice escape and place them inside the turkey along with the onion, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and nuts of choice.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to simmer and cook for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavors.
  • Preheat the oven to 325.
  • Place the turkey on a rack and the turkey neck and giblets in the roasting pan with a lid. Pour the bourbon in the pan. Pour all but 1/3 of the maple syrup mixture over the turkey breast. Cover the pan, or place oiled tin foil over the top of the turkey and cover the pan. Roast for 2.5 hours, without uncovering.
  • Uncover the pan and brush the turkey with the remaining maple syrup mixture. Roast for 30 more minutes, uncovered, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh, without touching bone, reads 165 F.
  • Lift the turkey from the pan and transfer to a platter or cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 30 minutes (perfect time to cook your other dishes!!). Throw out the neck and giblets. 
  • Pour the juices collected from the turkey in the roasting pan into a saucepan. Heat over low heat and gradually whisk in the flour, making the gravy, until the flour has browned. If you need to make up the difference of consistency, add more water or flour. Thicken for about 10 minutes.

I've made this turkey at least 5 times now, and it is delicious every single time! I love this recipe so much, and I can't wait to roast up another one tomorrow. This recipe is simple and reaps some hefty rewards. If you're looking for a few more Thanksgiving-styled recipes, check out last week's blog post! Have a great holiday, folks (: Be sure to check back here tomorrow - it's our one year anniversary, and we have a BIG giveaway planned!!

xoxo Kayla