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Turkey Heritage Style
Perfect Roasted Good Shepherd Heritage Turkey
Creating the perfect roasted bird is not that difficult but there are a few “rules” that must be followed. Remember that you are not preparing the mass produced commercial supermarket bird of today. Therefore keep in mind that the carcass structure will be a bit different. It is quite natural to expect the humped breast bone and less meat to the bone ratio, and the bird will be somewhat leaner. These birds develop more muscle due to the free range which required a bit longer cooking time. This natural characteristic enhances the flavor that is often missing from the commercial bird
Pre heat oven to 325 degrees
Rinse 12-16 lb turkey well, inside and out with cold running water. Pat dry inside and out. Rub bird in side with mixture of 3/4 tsp salt and ¼ tsp of fresh ground pepper. I do not stuff the birds, Using skewers I pin the neck skin to the underside of the bird and fold the wings behind the back (akimbo style) , tie drumsticks together to reduce cavity space.
Rub the entire bird with butter. Sprinkle bird on the outside with ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Place turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan place 1 ½ cups water Place open in oven for 30 min. Remove from oven and baste exterior with natural juices cover tightly return to oven that has had temp reduced to 325 degrees. Plan to bake bird for 15-20 min per pound .
To increase moisture and natural flavor 1 ½ hours after baking remove bird from oven. Using injector draw and inject breast, thighs and drumsticks with cooked juices. Add 1 small-med cubed yellow onion to cavity (small amounts of rubbed sage, rosemary may be added to cavity at this time if desired) Return to oven in tightly sealed roasting pan. Bake according to time/weight ratio.
Doneness can be checked by drumstick feels tender when pressed. and juices from bird run clear. Internal meat thermometer should reach 180 degrees.
30 mins before bird is to complete baking time. Remove cover baste bird with ½ natural juices and ½ butter return to oven in open roasting pan to brown lightly.
(Dressing can be made separately using neck/heart/gizzard and baked later as part of bird cooking time).
Prepared by Good Shepherd Test Kitchens.
Rotisserie Cooked Turkey
May be done on outside BBQ pit or smoker
Rinse 10-14 lb turkey well, inside and out with cold running water. Pat dry inside and out. Rub bird in side with mixture of 3/4 tsp garlic salt and 1/2 -1 tsp of fresh ground pepper. I do not stuff the birds, Make an additional basting mixture of the same adding 1/2 stick of butter.
Using skewers I pin the neck skin to the underside of the bird and fold the wings behind the back (akimbo style) , tie drumsticks together to reduce cavity space. Place bird on rotisserie skewer Baste outside of bird with butter mixture. Continue basting with mixture and drippings.
The cooking time will vary with heat and size of bird test for doneness by using correct thermometer reading for fowl.