Thanksgiving 2023 improved method.
16 lb turkey. Two days ahead: Have meat department spatchcock the bird. Ie: Separate backbone from the rest of the turkey, flatten it out, press down on the breast to further flatten it.
Dry brine: Place on a rack set over a sheet pan, generously salt both sides and refrigerate, uncovered, turning over once or twice over the 2+ days of brining. Most recipes call for too much salt IMO so maybe limit it to about 2T kosher salt.
Brown the neck, back, heart and gizzard in the bottom of a medium stock pot with butter. (Discard liver)
Add : 3 celery stalks
1 packet of umami powder (Dashi. Made from natural msg, seaweed, salt and dried mushrooms)
1 teaspoon Marmite
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
thyme and/or sage, fresh or dried
Water to cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to low simmer for about 2 hours. Discard bones and other bits, then strain and further reduce stock to about 2.5 to 3 cups. Do not salt at this stage.
On the day of: Remove turkey from the fridge, push compound butter (room temp butter with various dried or fresh herbs mixed in) under the skin. Coat skin with olive oil and let it rest at room temp for about 2 hours. Place bird atop a few celery stalks, and onion halves. No need for a rack. Use a low-sided roasting pan to allow as much air flow as possible.
Set oven to 400 degrees convection roast mode. It should be done in about 1.5 hours. Check internal temperature in multiple locations to be sure. Ideal temp is 165 for the breast and 175 for the thigh.
Make gravy using the stock and/or chicken stock. Discard the veggies in the roasting pan. Beware of over salting the gravy.
-Kate and Marion