Herb Butter Turkey

I have already waxed eloquent elsewhere about the glories of brining the turkey.  I believe in it absolutely.  Except there’s the small matter of the fact that when I brought my bucket in and started scrubbing it down to brine this Thanksgiving’s turkey, I found that it was dry rotted and it broke into many many pieces.  One does not find a bucket for sale on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving at 9 o’clock.  Earlier during Thanksgiving week I’d been watching Food Network’s Thanksgiving Live show where all the assorted Food Network hosts answered people’s Thanksgiving questions.  I remembered that Rachel Ray and Bobby Flay were all about the butter.  So with them in mind and taking Paula Deen as inspiration, I decided to slather mine in herb butter this year.  And, um…yeah, it was awesome.   Lookit…isn’t it pretty?


  • 1 turkey or turkey breast
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 tsp each parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, garlic powder
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash you turkey and be sure to pull out the neck and giblets.
  3. Pat dry.  This is very important so that the butter will actually adhere to the turkey instead of exclusively to your hands.
  4. Very carefully, you’ll want to slide your hand underneath the turkey skin.  You don’t want to pull it off, just loosen it, so you can get stuff underneath.
  5. Rough chop the carrots, celery, and onion and shove them into the turkey cavity.
  6. Mix the herbs with the butter and rub all over the turkey on top of and beneath the skin.
  7. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a pan and loosely tent with foil.
  8. Calculate your roasting time, approximately 15 minutes per pound.  Take that total time and subtract half an hour.
  9. Roast the bird for that less half hour time with the foil, then remove for the final half hour of roasting.
  10. Forget that little pop up thing that comes in turkeys now.  It will ensure that your turkey is overcooked.  You’ll want to check the internal temp of the bird with a good meat thermometer in the thickest part of the leg.  You’re shooting for 170 degrees.
  11. Allow to rest for a good fifteen to twenty minutes before carving so that the juices can redistribute.

Printable version.

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