My turn, my turn! Mine, mine, mine!!!
It’s my turn to share my version of the perfect roasted Thanksgiving turkey. Don’t worry, I’ve waited my turn in line. Apparently I was late to the “share your best turkey” recipe party. Roasted turkeys have been popping up everywhere for weeks.
Okay, maybe I should specify. By everywhere, I mean pictures on the internet. That would be a bit creepy if roasted turkeys were literally appearing out of thin air. Maybe a little morbid even. Well, not as morbid as the fact that Braelyn thought I actually caught a live turkey, plucked its feathers, and chopped its head off myself.
Really, she did. Our after school conversation upon noticing the roasted turkey on the countertop went something like this:
Braelyn: Mom?! Is that a turkey??? A real live turkey?!
Me: Yes…except not alive anymore. I cooked it.
Braelyn: But it really was alive? Like alive before you cooked it? It just doesn’t have a head anymore?
Me: Yes, it used to be alive. But, it doesn’t have a head anymore. You take the head and feathers off before you cook a turkey.
Braelyn: YOU took the head and feathers off?! Just ripped them off???!
And this is where I realized I was being a little too vague with the pronoun “you“. Now Ben on the other hand…he has chased a turkey, caught it, plucked its feathers, and chopped its head off. That’s another story…So, this is where I insert the fact that I am thankful that there is Jennie-O to do that job for me. Yes Jennie-O, today you are my hero.
I think I told you that I ended up with two turkeys this year knowing full well that we would not be in town for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I just couldn’t pass up the great deal of $10 turkeys at the grocery store…or so I thought. My mom burst my pride bubble on that one. I was telling her about my amazing steal and she informed me that you can find turkeys on sale for as low as 29 cents a pound the week of Thanksgiving.
So let’s see…I could have gotten my two thirteen pound turkeys for…a little under $4 a piece. Yep, bubble burst.
Oh well, it was still a blast roasting the first of my turkeys with my own little twist. Literally, I gave that turkey my own little twist…about 180 degrees in the wrong direction. I accidentally roasted it upside down! Turns out it was more tender that way, so score.
The real twist I am talking about was the way I flavored it. I am a sucker for sweeter meats and I love glazes, especially glazes with maple and brown sugar. So that’s what I did. A Cinnamon Maple Glazed Turkey. I roasted it in a cinnamon, maple and brown sugar glaze and once the turkey was done, I took the drippings and reduced them by half to make a lightly sweet and savory glaze to drizzle on top.
You surely won’t miss the traditional gravy with this glaze! Ben loved it on top of his mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sweet potatoes. It’s a lot lighter than your traditional gravy as well, which I really like. This glaze does solidify just like gravy when you store it in the fridge, so just give it a quick nuke in the microwave when you are assembling your Thanksgiving leftovers…if there are any.
And before I forget, this turkey is best prepared the night before and then cooked the next day. It allows the turkey to marinate in the maple glaze. But, you are still okay to do all the work in one day. But really, who wants that?!
So if you are still searching for that perfect Thanksgiving turkey, give this recipe a try. Something new, something different, something oh so good.
Have you found your perfect turkey recipe yet?
- 13-14 pound turkey
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- cinnamon sticks (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Thaw turkey according to package directions. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove gizzards and place turkey in a large roasting pan, breast side down to increase tenderness.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix to combine.
- Gently pull away skin away from breast and back of turkey, without removing. You just want an opening. Pierce meaty parts of the turkey under the skin about 20-30 times to tenderize and allow juices to marinate. Pour maple syrup blend under the skin of turkey and massage all around. Pour on top of turkey as well as on sides. Rub all over. Take softened butter and massage under skin as well. Take brown sugar and rub into meat under the skin of the turkey. Massage on top and on sides. Evenly sprinkle salt and pepper over top of turkey. Put cinnamon sticks in cavity of turkey. Cover and marinate overnight if possible, otherwise bake in oven for 3-4 hours or until legs start to pull away from the breast when lightly tugged, basting turkey with juices each hour.
- Remove turkey from pan and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before carving.
- Using a gravy separator to get rid of fat, pour out juices. Strain the juices to get rid of small pieces. Pour juices in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by half (about 30 minutes) stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
- Drizzle glaze over carved turkey and serve remaining glaze as condiment.