1 turkey (15 – 20 pounds)
Coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
1 lemon, zested and quartered
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh sage
12 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bottle (16 ounces) hard apple cider
Dry white wine, as needed
2 onions, peeled and cut into 1⁄2 inch slices
3 bay leaves
1 cup olive oil and melted butter (50/50 ratio)
Adapted from NY Times
Prepare oven according to Mugnaini’s Medium Roasting Environment, 550 – 625˚F
1 – 2 Days Prior to Cooking
Remove giblets from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for stock or gravy. Pat turkey and turkey neck dry with paper towels and rub all over with 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pound of turkey, pepper and lemon zest. Transfer to a roasting pan fitted with a “v” roasting rack and leave uncovered in fridge for 1 – 2 days.
On the Day of Cooking
Remove turkey from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature on the roasting rack before cooking it. This will take about an hour.
Begin by rubbing the turkey with salt and fresh ground pepper. Stuff the turkey cavity with garlic cloves, lemon quarters, herbs and half of the onions.
In the bottom of the roasting pan, add the rest of the onions, cider and enough wine to fill the pan to a depth of 1/2 inch. Tie the legs together with butcher’s twine. Brush turkey skin generously with the oil/butter combination.
Start the turkey on its side on your “V” roasting rack in the pan. Rub the back side of the turkey with salt and pepper, followed by the butter and oil. Place a heavy-duty foil tent over the turkey and set into the oven with the back side facing the fire and the legs toward the rear of the oven. Place door in front of, but not fully covering, the arch and leave the turkey in this position for about 45 minutes. Remove turkey from oven and turn breast side up in roasting pan. Insert an internal thermometer into both hip joints and begin recording temperatures. Add water to pan to keep the bottom covered with liquid if necessary and baste the turkey if it’s looking a little dry. Replace foil tent over turkey and set back in the oven with the lesser cooked side faced toward the back of the oven.
Maintain a roasting environment by adding wood each time the turkey is removed.
Repeat internal checks every 30 minutes and rotate the pan, positioning lesser cooked side toward the fire. Baste turkey during temperature checks if needed. Continue to roast until internal temperature at each hip joint registers at 165˚F. Total roasting time is around 3 hours.