This Rosemary and Juniper Turkey is a failsafe method for a roasted turkey to obtain a super juicy turkey with a crispy exterior.
Thanksgiving! One of my favourite holidays. Don’t worry Christmas, I still have your back, it’s just that Thanksgiving is usually more about the food and gathering with friends and family than it is about gifts. Gifts are fun.
And I like them, don’t get me wrong, but I love celebrating people and food … especially together. It’s a wonderful long weekend to give thanks and enjoy all that I’m thankful for: my wonderful family, dear friends, and my ability to share with you all through food.
Thanksgiving has always been a pretty big event for me. There’s always been a turkey, stuffing, and all the other fixings. I loved the smell of the turkey and stuffing being made at my Nana’s house.
It’s where I learned to make stuffing. Albeit, it was Scottish style which equates to large quantities of butter. Since butter usually means good things you can image how delicious her stuffing was.
Paired with turkey and gravy, it made anyone’s Thanksgiving food dreams come true. That’s what this recipe and turkey did for me. It brought me back to when I was a little girl standing at the stove on a chair basting a turkey and stirring the stuffing with my Nana. I can’t wait till my 3 girls are at the stove with me learning, sharing, and making new memories together.
Let’s get to the main even though. The bird. This turkey was seriously good. Seriously. Juicy, super crispy skin, and given its juicy-ness, made for some supreme leftovers. Dreamy right? I’ve never had a full turkey as good as this. And neither had any of my guests. Everyone commented on the flavours and the moistness. It’s a winner guys.
This recipe has a brine and flavours that complement the turkey wonderfully. Classic Thanksgiving rosemary flavour with a hit of juniper berry flavours. The juniper complements the gamier tastes of the turkey and gives the turkey a bit more zip. Don’t skimp on the brine; it’s a definite must for any whole bird. The juniper berries are shown in the photo above. They’re a dried berry from conifers trees. They are more commonly known as a the distinct flavour found in gin.
The meat at Two Rivers Meats is free of antibiotics, hormones, and chemical feed additive. In addition to all this goodness, they believe that people should know where their food is coming from, and that it was produced ethically and naturally. It’s the real deal. Check out their website for further information and details on all their suppliers.
Interested in a turkey from Two Rivers Meats? You should be. They have limited supply this year so contacting them sooner rather than later is a good idea. Two Rivers Meats can be reached at 604-990-5288 or email@example.com. Tell them I said “Hi!”. The staff is just as lovely as your turkey will taste.
Looking for a more hands-off turkeys? Check out this Slow Cooker version!
* Some of the photos were updated October 2017.
- 8 pieces of celery chopped
- 6 pieces of garlic crushed
- 1/4 cup juniper berries dried
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- large bundle of rosemary sprigs
- 12 cups of water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup salt
- 17-18 lbs turkey
- 1/4 cup butter at room temperature
- 6 pieces of celery chopped
- 1 onion quartered
- 4 large sprigs rosemary
- 2 tbsp juniper berries dried
24 to 72 hours before cooking the turkey, ready a bucket, cooler, etc. to brine the turkey. I ended up using a smaller (brand new just so no one is weirded out here) garbage bin.
In a medium sauce pan, heat 4 cups of water with sugar and salt to a boil. Add celery, garlic, onion, rosemary, and peppercorns. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3-5 minutes (to allow flavours to meld). Remove from heat and allow contents to cool.
Place turkey, brine mixture, and remaining (cold) water in container. Refrigerate until ready to use. I had to remove 1 shelf to fit the turkey.
When ready to cook turkey, remove from brine, rinse with cold water and pat dry.
Preheat oven to 500° F.
Place a ring of aluminum foil (take a very large piece of aluminum foil and roll into a snake like length and then make a ring out of it) in the bottom of your large roasting pan. Alternatively, if you're an adult with a proper roasting pan with a v-shaped rack use that. I'm apparently still too child-like to own most cooking appliances and had to go the foil route.
Place turkey on foil ring and rub (aggressively) the butter into the turkey skin with your hands. Use rubber gloves if the thought of touching raw meat grosses you out.
Loosely fill the cavity with celery, onion, rosemary and juniper berries. (You don't want to stuff the cavity too full as it will prolong cooking time and possibly dry out parts of the bird. The goal here is a super juicy turkey that will go the extra mile for those turkey sandwiches we all look forward to).
Place turkey in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Check the skin for crispiness, you want it deep golden brown and crispy all over. Cover the breast portion of the turkey with aluminum foil (sprayed with non-stick spray or buttered on the portion touching the turkey) to prevent the breasts from drying out.
Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and return turkey to oven for 2-2.5 hours. Check the turkey every 15 minutes after this mark. The turkey needs to reach a temperature of 185° F when a thermometer is placed in the thickest portion of thigh or 165° F when placed in the breast. It's recommended to remove the turkey from the oven when your thermometer reaches 181° F in the thigh or 161° F in the breast. The meat will continue to heat up slightly while it rests.
Allow the turkey to rest! A bird of this size will need 20-30 minutes.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
*** This post is sponsored by Two Rivers Meats. My Kitchen Love was provided with a turkey for recipe development. Two Rivers Meats did not review this blog prior to posting and all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting brands I love that allow My Kitchen Love to run.