roast stuffed turkey

This may seem like a lot of extra work and time to prepare a turkey, but it’s worth it. The turkey is very tender and juicy and browns very nicely.

A 12- to 15-pound turkey will accommodate approximately half of the stuffing. Bake the remainder in a casserole dish while the turkey rests before carving.

2 cups table salt
1 turkey (12 to 15 pounds gross weight), rinsed thoroughly; giblets, neck and tailpiece removed and reserved to make gravy
2 medium onions, chopped coarse
1 medium carrot, chopped coarse
4 thyme sprigs
12 cups prepared stuffing
3 tablespoons butter, plus extra to grease casserole disk and foil
1/4 cup turkey or chicken stock or low-sodium canned broth

1. Dissolve salt in 2 gallons of cold water in a large stockpot or clean bucket that will fit in your refrigerator. Add turkey and refrigerate or set in a very cool (40 degrees or less) spot for 4-6 hours.

2. Remove turkey from salt water and rinse skin and both cavities under cool water for several minutes until all traces of salt are gone. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels; set aside. Place turkey on meat rack set over rimmed sheet pan. Place turkey in refrigerator, uncovered, and air-dry for at least 8 hours or overnight.

3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat to 400 degrees. Scatter onions, carrot, celery, and thyme over shallow roasting pan. Pour 1 cup water over vegetables. Set V-rack in pan.

4. Place half of stuffing in buttered medium casserole dish, dot surface with 1 tablespoon butter, cover with buttered foil, and refrigerate until ready to use. Microwave remaining stuffing on full power, stirring two or three times, until very hot (120-130 degrees), 6-8 minutes. If you can handle the stuffing with your hands, it’s not hot enough. Spoon 4 or 5 cups stuffing into the turkey cavity very loosely. Secure skin flap over cavity opening with turkey lacers or skewers. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Tuck wings behind back, brush entire breast side with butter, and then place turkey breast side down. Fill neck cavity with remaining heated stuffing and secure skin flap over opening. Place on V-rack and brush back with remaining butter.

5. Roast 1 hour, then reduce temperature to 250 degrees and roast two more hours, adding additional water if pan becomes dry. Remove pan from oven (close oven door) and with wad of paper towels in each hand, turn bird breast side up and baste (temperature of breast should be 145-150 degrees). Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees; continue roasting until breast registers about 165 degrees, thigh registers 170-175 degrees and stuffing registers 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 1 to 1-1/2 hours longer. Remove turkey from oven and let rest until ready to carve.

6. Add 1/4-cup stock to dish of reserved stuffing, replace foil, and bake until hot throughout, about 20 minutes. Remove foil; continue to bake until stuffing forms golden brown crust, about 15 minutes longer.

7. Carve turkey; serve with stuffing and gravy.

America’s Test Kitchens.

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