I love doing a turkey in the Dutch oven. So many people end up with dry, tasteless bird when they cook a turkey. That does not happen with this recipe. When I do a turkey, it is all about taste, not looks. In fact, I carve the bird and serve it on platters, so no one even sees the finished product in the oven.
One tip is to cook your bird upside down so the breast is cooked in juices the entire time. That’s what I’ve done here. If you don’t have a Dutch oven big enough (I use a 17” extra deep Maca oven that will hold a 30 lb. bird), you can do this in a roaster oven and use a cooking back to keep the moisture in. If you do use the Dutch oven, the moisture is kept in without using a cooking bag.
Here is a list of the things you will need:
- Turkey – I like a 22 lb fresh Tom
- 1 cube of butter
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 3 sprigs of fresh sage
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 onions, quartered
- 4 heads of garlic (around 20-25 peeled cloves)
- 2 cups of water
- Large food syringe injector
Clean out the turkey and remove the neck, gizzard, etc. that come with the bird. Stuff the main cavity of the turkey with the onions and garlic cloves.
Using ½ the stick of butter, cover the outside of the turkey. Salt and pepper the outside as well.
Take the remaining half stick of butter and add it to the chicken stock in a pan and melt the butter into the stock. Fill the large syringe (I use an epidural syringe I got from a nurse that works in labor and delivery, when that gave up the ghost, I bought a food injector syringe) with the chicken broth/butter fluid and inject the broth into all meaty parts of the bird. The skin will plump up everywhere you inject the turkey.
Add the water to the bottom of the pan, place the turkey in upside down (breast down) and cover with the fresh herbs. Don’t worry is some of the herbs fall into the water at the bottom of the pan, we use the flavored juices at the end.
Cover the oven with the lid and cook at around 350° for 3 hours using even heat (slightly more coals on top than bottom). I tend to make the oven a little hotter in the first hour of cooking and go with a lower heat for the remainder of the time. Because my oven is so deep, it takes around 25% more coals than the usual formula to get the heat I want.
The key is to use a meat thermometer to check your meat temperature. When the breast meat is at 170°, your turkey is done! Make sure you do not overcook it. When the bird is done pull it out of the oven (probably in pieces as the meat falls off the bone!) carve the meat and place it on serving platters that have a bit of an edge to them. Now, using a ladle, pour some of the juices from the pan over all the meat before serving. This will be one juicy turkey!