How to Roast a Turkey  | Traeger Staples

How to Roast a Turkey | Traeger Staples


Hey guys! I’m Nichole Dailey, Chef de Cuisine
here at Traeger Grills. Today we’re going to show you a recipe for a traditional
roasted turkey. I always like to brine my turkey. I think
it gives it a lot of moisture and you can impart a lot of flavor into the meat
of the turkey. So what we’re gonna start with is a quart of water but you just
want your turkey completely submerged so it might take a little bit more, a little
bit less – depends on the size of your turkey.
You’ll dissolve your sugar and salt in just a portion, and then pour it over ice
water. It cools it down much quicker. We’ve got a quart of water
here, about a half a cup of salt, and a half a cup of brown sugar.
Essentially, this is all you need for a brine. You can use granulated sugar or
brown sugar. I like brown just for the flavor. From
there, you can add in whatever flavors you like. We’re gonna do a little bit of
garlic clove and I’ll just throw it all in at once in the beginning. Bay leaves,
black peppercorns, we’ll just kind of let it steep for a little bit and then I
like to do a little bit of citrus peel and this is just over medium heat. All
you want to do is just dissolve the salt and the sugar. So I just use a peeler and
take off just the outside. You don’t want too much of the pith.
It’s really bitter. So we’ll do orange peel and lemon peel. You can switch it up
and add a little bit of bourbon or whiskey in there. You can flavor your
brine with things like apple cider vinegar, wine, soy sauce, you just have to
keep in mind that anything you add to it, if it’s a high sodium content or it has
a lot of acid, it’s going to affect your brine. Acid can really start to break
down the tissue, so if it’s too acidic your meat will end up kind of like mushy
at the end. So we’re just going to let that come up to a simmer and wait for
the sugar and salt to dissolve. The last thing we want to add to that is a little
bit of thyme and rosemary. This turkey here is about 16 pounds.
you always want to go for about a pound of turkey per person so if you’re buying
a 16 pound turkey it’s good to feed around 16 people. I’m gonna truss this
one I usually put a lot of aromatics and seasonings inside the cavity of the bird
so I want to take this off so we can get in there. Alright, so your turkey always
comes with the neck and then up here are all of the gizzards so this is the heart,
the liver, things like that. These are great for stuffing or for flavoring a
stock, but I always use the neck for the gravy so save both of them because they
have a good use and then there’s usually a little chunk of fat that’s attached on
the inside here I’ll just cut that out. You can also roast that and put it in
your stock or your gravy if you’d like. You want to make sure there’s no ice or
anything inside of your bird. Always plan for defrosting time. If you’re buying a
frozen bird, sitting in the fridge it’ll take a couple of days. So we’ll take some
of this off and our bird is good to go. I’ve got some cold water here. Once
our brine has steeped and the sugar and salt is dissolved, it smells so good so
you’ll just take this hot portion and pour it into the cold water and it’ll
cool it down much quicker and you want to brine your bird for about 12 hours.
The most I would go is just overnight. I wouldn’t do it for much more than that. So we’ll dunk our bird in and you just
want to make sure it’s submerged so I’ll usually do it breast side down and then
I’ll weigh the back down with some plates to keep it underneath the water
you just want to make sure you’re imparting that flavor to the entire bird.
So we’re gonna transfer this to the fridge and we’re gonna let it sit
overnight and then we’ll revisit it tomorrow. Okay, so we just pulled our turkey out of
the fridge. It’s been brining for about 12 hours. Before we pull that out we’re
gonna get a couple things ready. So we’re gonna rub an herb butter on this turkey
underneath the skin so we’ve got a little bit of softened butter here
and then we’re just gonna use rosemary and thyme and a little bit of minced
garlic. So I like to get these things ready before we pull the bird out just
to reduce cross-contamination. So you just rip the leaves off of
rosemary and same with the time a lot of these stems are really tender so don’t
worry if you get a little bit in there. We’ll just chop it up so you can just
eyeball it. I’ve got one big sprig of rosemary here. It’s probably tablespoon
and a half maybe, and then about the same of thyme and we’re just gonna mince this
so it’s really fine, and then we’re gonna add it to our room-temperature butter.
We’ve got two sticks of butter here that are softened. We’ll also season it with
salt and pepper and we’re gonna slide that right under the skin on the turkey.
It helps keep the meat inside really moist as well as browning the skin. So I
just got three garlic cloves. We’ll just slice through them really
quick and then we’ll go the other way and mince. A little tip you can do if
you’re trying to get your garlic into more of a paste, you can add a little
salt to it and then keep mincing and as you go the salt will pull out the
moisture and start to break the garlic down and you don’t have to do this every
time you do minced garlic but if I’m putting it in something where I want it
really incorporated I’ll go for more of a paste and then what you’re going to do
is you’re going to take your knife and kind of crush it. and I’ll just run back and forth over
this a couple of times until it’s where we want it to be. It’s gonna be more
evenly distributed that way versus just chunks. Alright, in goes our garlic and
then we’re gonna season this really well. I always use unsalted butter so that I
can control the salt content in anything just get this nice and incorporated I
always start with a little bit of celery and a couple of carrots and an onion. On
the carrots, I usually just wash them. Don’t bother
peeling them we’ll just cut this end off and then just cut it into 1-inch chunks.
We’re gonna strain this out at the end we’re just trying to flavor that gravy
and get as much out of it as we can and then I use the leaves and all of the
smaller stems for this as well again because you’re just gonna strain it out
and then we’ll just cut the root end off here, throw these in the bottom, no onion
we want it all about the same size so we’ll just take the tip and the root off
and then cut it in half. Peel off these first couple layers and
then we’ll just do a rough chop large dice 1-inch pieces whatever you want to
do and then we’ll use a few garlic cloves as well and some more rosemary
and thyme and again you’re gonna just strain all this out so you can leave the
stems we’ve got about a quart of chicken stock here we’re gonna pour it in the
bottom of the pan and then we’ll situate our turkey right on top of here. Now pull
this guy out of the brine and you want to get off all of the spices or
aromatics that have kind of stuck to the skin and then you want to make sure the
cavity is completely drained and then you want to take some paper towels and
pat the bird dry. Now to prep our bird, you want to season every part of the bird
including the cavity the more you season the more flavorful it’s going to be. Put
a good amount of salt and pepper in here and then we’re gonna stick a couple
sprigs in there and another rosemary and then
I’ll take a whole garlic bulb and just cut it in half and we’ll throw that in
there as well. Okay now on to the butter. So what we’re gonna do is we’re going to
separate the outer layer of skin from the breast that’s underneath and the
thighs. It’s usually easiest if you find a spot towards the legs it’s a little
bit separated already and then you’re just gonna go in with your fingers and
kind of peel it away from the breast you don’t want to puncture through this
outer layer of skin that’s what’s gonna protect your meat
while it’s cooking. So we’ll just separate it all the way down same on
this side what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna take this butter a little bit at a
time and just slide it underneath the skin and then you can use your other
hand to kind of like massage it down. You want to cover as much of the bird as
possible and then whatever butter I have left I’ll kind of slide it into the
cavity. It’s just going to give your bird that
much more flavor and keep it moist so we’re gonna go ahead and truss this. I
kind of do it the easy way. I just tuck the wings back in underneath and then
for the legs we’re gonna just take a piece of twine about that long and what
you’re gonna do is you’re gonna slide it right underneath sort of like the hips
so it’s gonna be right here down the middle of the bird and then you’re going
to take your twine and pull it down. What this does is it keeps the skin over the
breast and it pulls it together and then you’re gonna cross these over I’ll do a
little swoop here keep it tight and then what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna go
under the legs like this and then you’ll cross in at the top and pull that tight
so then you just take your twine and loop around the legs a couple of times
and then just tie a little knot here and your birds ready to go. For the outside
what we’re gonna do is we’ll just take our olive oil and go lightly over the
top and just rub it in and then you want to season the whole bird. So we’re just
gonna go pretty liberally with our salt even though it seems like a lot of salt
on the exterior that salt has a long way to go you’ve got a
big piece of meat to season so don’t be shy with it and then just a little fine
ground pepper and then we’ve got our grill preheating outside at 300 degrees.
We’re gonna pop this guy on and it’ll take about three to four hours and we’ll
take it off and let it rest and then we’ll finish our gravy. So we’ve got our grill preheating. It’s
been preheating for about 10 or 15 minutes on 300 degrees
we’ve got turkey pellets in. For this one, it’s a mix of hickory, oak, maple, and
rosemary. Goes really well with the turkey. You could use something else like
apple or just straight oak you can use mesquite for a stronger flavor. We’re
just gonna stick with the turkey blend. So you just want to throw this in the center of
the grill we’re gonna come out and check it
periodically we might rotate it and turn it around to make sure it’s getting an
even brown we want to look for an internal temperature of 160 degrees so
it’s gonna go for about 3 or 4 hours but we’ll check it around 3. Ok so it’s been about four hours we’ve
rotated our bird around a little bit so the outside is nice and evenly browned
we just tempt it, it’s about 160 degrees which is where you want to pull it off.
you want to make sure you don’t wait until 165 because it’ll continue to cook
once you take it off the grill. Okay so we’ve got our bird off the grill we’re
gonna let it rest. While it does that we’re gonna make the gravy. First thing
we’re gonna do on our gravy is make the roux. So roux is just a thickener and
it’s equal parts butter and flour we’ll start with our butter first and you can
use different types of thickeners if you’d like. I like the flavor and
mouthfeel of roux more. You want to do this over a medium-high heat
you’re gonna melt the butter until it starts to bubble. This is where you’re
gonna add the flour in and you want to add it and stir right away. It’s gonna
steam so it’s really hot. You got to be careful not to burn yourself and we’re
just gonna stir this and kind of mash it up so the butter blends with the flour
and it’ll go from just smelling like melted butter to like a toasted popcorn.
I’m gonna set this aside so it doesn’t continue to cook and then what we’ll do
is we’re gonna take our bird off of here onto the cutting board to let it rest
and then we’re gonna strain this into our saucepan here. Okay
so we’ve got our liquid here from the bottom of the pan you can use a fat
separator or you can just skim the fat off the top. You want to get as much as
possible so we’ve got our gravy coming up to a simmer. I’ve skimmed all the fat
off the top. We’re gonna add our roux back in to thicken it. I’m gonna add a
little bit more turkey stock to this. I know that at my family dinners, they always go really heavy on the gravy so I like to have more than what I expect I will
need so we’ll add about a cup to this. Okay so we’re back up to a simmer we’re
just gonna add this in a little bit at a time and you want to whisk pretty
vigorously to try to work all those lumps out. Do it gradually and incorporate a
little bit at a time. Make sure the first batch is incorporated before you add any
more so what I look for in a gravy is to coat the back of a spoon you can see not
a lot of it’s sticking here so I’m gonna probably add the rest of this roux and
then let it come back up to a simmer again and we’ll check where we’re at. You
can see much more sticking to the back of a spoon and you run your finger down
the middle it stays that way so we’re gonna let this hang out for a minute and
then we’re gonna carve our turkey. So our turkeys been resting for about a half an
hour we’re gonna go ahead and carve it. One thing I always start with is just by
untrussing the bird. I usually tie mine in a bow so it makes it really easy. So
first thing I’m going to start with is by taking off the legs you’ll just slice
through the skin between the leg and the breast and then I pull it open a little
bit and there’s a bone right in here and you just want to be to the left of that
bone so you should be as close to the bone as possible but not hitting it and
then you’re gonna slice over the joint here down to the cutting board and then
you can see where the joint attaches. Sometimes I’ll just pop it out and
there’s our leg and then on the legs I leave the drumsticks and we’ll carve
some of the thigh off of here to take the drumstick off. You can see where the
joint is in between these two and you want to go right between there you
shouldn’t be cracking any bones you shouldn’t hear that noise at all it’s
just right through the joint. You can leave them whole like this if you’d like
but I like to take it off the bone so you can see the bone goes from here to
this joint so you’re gonna slice right on top of there and then on either side
to kind of pull that bone out and then I’ll lift this side up and just kind of
shave it away from that bone you just want to make sure with that comes this
joint you don’t want to leave any of that cartilage there and then once you
have the bone out you can just go straight through it. You can see because we’ve let this bird
rest there’s some juice on the table obviously but it’s not all filled in my
little canal right here so if you were to take this right off the grill and cut
into it, there would be so much that it’s like flowing off the table you
want to give it that time to rest so that you don’t lose all of that. On the
breast, you’re gonna go right down the center of this bone on the top and then
once you get down here you can feel the wishbone and you’re just gonna go follow
the curve of that wishbone right down to the joint so you can kind of start to
pull it away from the ribs here and I just you let gravity kind of do its
thing pull it off and it’ll start to pull itself. If you see close enough here
you can see that little smoke ring something that you’ll get on the grill
and nowhere else. It’s beautiful. Then you just cut the side off and then we’ll go
do the same over here then you’re gonna take the breast and just slice them on a
diagonal here and you can see just under the skin all those herbs from that herb
butter that we put in there if you left any extra meat on there you can kind of
pull it all off you can serve it with this. You can use it for something else
maybe a leftover sandwich the day after, you can throw it in a soup, but the
carcass you can use as well. You can use this carcass and throw it in a pot.
Cover it with cold water and use it to make turkey stock so I don’t throw any
part of it away. So I know some people like to chew on the wings a little bit
so we’re gonna take these off again you shouldn’t be going through any bones
it’s just the joints and just like we did with the drumsticks you can see this
seam in the middle if you find the right spot you shouldn’t be going through any
bone just the joint itself. So last thing that we want to do
is bring our gravy back up to temp. You want to taste it for seasoning. So good.
Need a little bit of salt, some pepper I think we’re good to go. Fill our
gravy boat here and there we have our turkey and gravy. Let’s give it a taste. It’s a little bit smoky, perfectly
seasoned, and so juicy. Be sure to check out our website traegergrills.com/recipes for this recipe and many more as well as the Traeger Grills app.

4 thoughts on “How to Roast a Turkey | Traeger Staples”

  1. I hate to break up your Turkey party! But when you were cutting into your Turkey legs your Turkey looks uncooked but everything else looks really good I do it the same way that you do.

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