Guide to Everything Turkey
Grass Roots turkeys are frozen at the peak freshness—as soon as they are harvested—to preserve their quality and to keep your family free from foodborne illness. What you need to do when it arrives is keep it cold until it is time to start to thaw.
The fridge is the slowest, but safest—from a foodborne illness perspective—place to warm up that bird. With this method, allow 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. So, if you have a 15 lb bird, you’ll need 3 full days to thaw. And don’t forget to place a baking sheet or tray underneath your turkey to capture any liquids.
Cold Water Bath
If you have a big enough container or sink, you can also bathe your turkey into thawing. This method is a bit faster but more labor intensive. You’ll need to submerge your turkey in cold water—don’t use hot water, doing so will put that turkey in the foodborne illness temperature danger zone. You’ll need to change the water every 30 minutes to keep that bird clean. And it will take about 30 minutes per pound to defrost.
Don’t have any room to spare in your fridge or sink? We get it. A cooler will work just fine. Wash it really well and make sure the lid has an air-tight seal. The frozen turkey will provide all of the refrigeration needed for thawing safely, so there is no need to add any ice.
The thaw time for this method is about the same as it is for the fridge—24 hours for every 4 to 5 lbs—and we recommend checking it after two days.
Timing: 1 to 3 days before you want to cook your bird
Pro tip: The turkey can be partially frozen when you apply this rub—a perfect solution for folks who miscalculate their thaw time or are looking to consolidate their turkey treatment steps.
4 T kosher salt
1 T fresh cracked black pepper
Prep: Pat the bird dry, both inside the cavity and all of the skin. Tuck the wing tips behind the neck bone of the bird and apply the dry brine rub. Apply a couple of teaspoons of the salt and pepper mixture into the cavity of the turkey. Gently separate the skin from the breast meat of the bird and apply 2 teaspoons of the rub under the skin directly onto the meat. Apply the rest of the seasoning on the outer skin of the bird and allow it to sit uncovered in refrigeration for at least one day and up to three days before roasting, smoking, grilling, or frying your turkey.
Timing: Start brining 4 to 6 hours before you want to cook your bird
Pro tip: The turkey needs to be fully submerged in the brine, so using a cooler can work really well.
3 cups of kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 gallons of water
Prep: Dissolve the salt and sugar in large stock pot or clean bucket. If you have a hankering for a little extra flavor, add your favorite dry spices or fresh herbs. Add the turkey and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Pat the bird dry, then it’s ready to cook.
Herb Paste Ingredients
2 cups of chopped parsley
6 tsp of fresh minced thyme leaves
3 tsp of fresh chopped sage
2 tsp of fresh minced rosemary
3 garlic cloves minced
2 tsp of lemon zest from 2 lemons 1 tsp of salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp of dijon mustard
1/2 cup of olive oil
1. Brine your bird using one of the techniques above.
2. Remove turkey from brine, rinse with cool water and pat inside and out dry with paper towel.
3. Place turkey breast side up on a wire baking rack over a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered in fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. The longer drying period will air dry the skin and produce a very crisp skin.
4. To make the optional herb paste, process herbs, garlic lemon zest, salt and pepper in food processor until coarse (20 seconds). Add mustard and olive oil and process until it forms a smooth paste.
5. Heat oven to 425 degrees and line large V rack with heavy duty foil and poke lots of holes in the foil. If you don’t have a V rack you can use a wire backing rack and rimed baking sheet, but you might have to drain the baking sheet a couple times as you bake to turkey.
6. Remove turkey from fridge and set breast side up on baking sheet. Using your hands, carefully loosen skin from breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. Then using fingers, rub 2 to 3 Tbs of paste under skin of breast, thighs, and drumsticks.
7. Rub the rest of paste inside the turkey cavity.
8. To roast turkey, place it breast side down in v-rack over roasting pan. Roast for 45 minutes.
9. Remove the turkey from the oven and decrease oven temperature to 325 degrees. Using paper towels, rotate turkey so breast is up. Return to the oven and roast 1 to 2 1/2 hours longer until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees and thickest part of the thigh registers 170-175 degrees.
10. Remove turkey from oven and let rest for 30 minutes. Carve and serve.