Turkey is the star of my Thanksgiving. I take immense pride in how juicy and flavorful it comes out. It has taken me years to get it the way I want it to taste and I feel like I've finally mastered it. And it's a glorious thing to have.
First thing you do is prepare your roasting pan. I put vegetables on the bottom of my pan to make sure the juices do not burn. It also adds a ton of flavor to my homemade stock.
Now, take your kitchen shears (it's important to use good quality shears here) and cut out the backbone going from the butt up to the where the neck would have been. Take your time and carefully cut through the bones and ribs. Save the backbone for stock.
Recipe below is adapted from Serious Eats' and Kenji Lopez's recipe found here.
1 10-11lb turkey
1 lb bacon
1.5 sticks butter, softened
5 sage leaves
5 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
3 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed
1.5 celery stalks
4 cloves of garlic
Preheat oven to 450oF
1. Finely chop herbs. Add to butter and mix well.
2. Slice celery, carrots, and onion to fit under roasting rack. Leave garlic cloves whole and place under rack.
3. Remove backbone of turkey using sharp kitchen shears. Remove tail and excess skin near tail and neck hole.
4. Find wishbone near neckhole of turkey. Using a paring knife, cut along the wishbone tracing it up and around the joints. Remove.
5. Flip turkey over and press down hard on breast. You should hear the bones crack and the turkey should flatten. Tuck wings under breast.
6. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Place half stick of softened butter under the skin of each breast. Use remaining half stick of herbed butter over the skin of the turkey.
7. Salt and pepper turkey liberally from underneath and on top of the skin.
8. Place bacon on top of turkey making sure to cover breasts and thighs.
9. Place thermometer into thigh of turkey.
10. Roast turkey for about 60 minutes until internal thigh temperature reaches 160oF. Remove bacon beforehand when cooked through, about 45 minutes. After removing bacon, place turkey back into oven to brown skin.
11. Remove turkey from oven. Allow residual heat to bring internal thigh temperature to 165oF. Use an instant thermometer to double check.
12. Let rest for 30 minutes. Carve and serve alongside bacon and gravy.