Best turkey ever
Updated: Apr 27, 2019
This is my mom’s recipe and it has slowly been making it's way through my extended family because everyone says it's the best turkey they've ever had. It really is just THAT good. The white meat is moist and tender and the dark meat is perfectly cooked, fall-off-the-bone heaven.
The secret to this turkey is frequent basting and a low, slow cook. While the turkey is in the oven, you’ll keep it covered with foil so that there is just a tiny gap at either end for the steam to escape.
1 turkey, size of your choosing (approx. 1 to 1.5 lb per person)
3 large carrots (or 4 medium)
5 stalks of celery
1 medium onion
4 bay leaves
2 1/2 tsp savoury
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
3 cups chicken stock
Set oven rack to lowest placement and preheat oven to 325F.
Roughly chop carrots, celery and onions (I usually cut them up the night before for less prep in the morning).
In a small bowl, mix together savoury, salt, and pepper.
Put some carrots, celery, onions, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp of spices into the main cavity of the turkey. Into the neck cavity you’ll add a bit of the carrots, celery, and onion as well as 1/2 tsp of spices. If you have cooking twine, you can tie the legs together but if not you can tuck the legs back into the turkey skin that they were previously tucked into.
Flip the turkey so it is upside down (breast down) and rub on 1 tsp of spices. Flip the turkey back over (breast up) and the repeat with remaining spices.
Put remaining carrots, celery, and onions all around the turkey and pour in chicken stock, making sure to pour some of it over the turkey (some of the spices will run off but that's fine).
Cover with tinfoil but leave a small opening on each ends so the steam can escape. If you’re using a rectangular dish, set your tinfoil so the steam can escape from two opposite corners.
Put the turkey in the oven on the lowest rack. It will be in there for 7 hours for a 15 lb (6.8 kg) turkey - see note below for adjusting time based on size of turkey.*
After 2 hours in the oven, use a ladle to baste the turkey with the stock around it. Do this every hour after that. If you’re running low on juices, you can add more chicken stock or even just water.
After the 6th hour (when there is one hour left), remove tinfoil so the top can brown, baste it, and then put it back in the oven.
Baste it again 30 minutes later. If any of it is getting dark too soon, put some tinfoil over that specific spot and leave the rest exposed. If all of it is nicely browned, you can put the foil back on it for the last half hour. Return to the oven.
After another 30 minutes, take the turkey out. Transfer the turkey to a serving plate (some of the bones may fall right out of the turkey because it’s so tender! Don’t worry if this happens, you can use them for making stock). If you still have more cooking to do, tent the turkey with foil to keep it warm but make sure steam can escape from the ends. It can stay like this for about an hour if needed.**
(Optional) When you cut into it, drizzle some of the cooking juices into the cuts before serving to keep it moist. Want to make a gravy to go with it? Keep reading past the notes!
* Add or subtract 30 minutes of total cook time for every kg (2 lb) more or less than listed above. This means that you may start step 8 sooner or later than after 6 hours depending on the size of your turkey - you want to do this when there is 1 hour left of total cook time.
** If you need to keep it for longer, then just put the oven to the minimum temperature and put some tinfoil on it (again, not sealed) instead of taking it out of the oven.
You can also make gravy with the drippings! No drippings left? Don’t worry, you can still make gravy using the instructions below.
Turkey drippings and/or water or chicken stock as needed (up to 3 cups)
3 tbsp all purpose flour
3 tbsp salted butter
If you don’t have any turkey drippings left, or simply just not enough, add water (up to 3 cups) to the roasting pan you used to cook the turkey and heat on medium while using a wooden spoon to scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan. If any bones had fallen out of the turkey when transferring it, keep those in the roasting pan to help flavour this. Ideally, also keep some of the veggies and bay leaves in there. When you’ve gotten most (or all) of the bits unstuck from the bottom of the pan, you can set this aside.
Brown flour ahead of time if you can (don't let it burn) by stirring flour constantly over medium-low heat until golden brown, then transfer to a bowl to let it cool.
Heat butter on medium-low until completely melted, then add flour. Stir continuously until well mixed to form a roux.
Using a fine mesh strainer, pour a small amount of turkey drippings into the roux and use a whisk to completely dissolve roux. Add the remaining turkey drippings and mix well.
Once it is a little bit thinner than you actually want it, remove from heat and pour into gravy boat or serving dish (it will thicken a bit more as it cools).