Perfect Heritage Black Turkey

November 18, 2016

Perfect Heritage Black Turkey

Prep Time: 1 hour

Inactive Prep Time:  24 hours

Cook Time: 2-3 hours


For the Brine: 

1 Cup Kosher Salt 1 oz Fresh Ginger
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar 1 head Fresh Garlic
1/2 Bunch Parsley stems (Reserve leaves for the Herb Butter) 2 TBS Whole Black Peppercorns
1 Gallon light cooking stock (vegetable or chicken) 3 Bay Leaves
10 Pounds Ice cubes


For the Turkey: 

1 Joyce Farms 16 LB Heritage Black Turkey 2 large sprigs Fresh Thyme
6 oz (1.5 sticks) Unsalted Butter 1 each Lemon
1/4 cup Parsley leaves 1 medium White or Yellow Onion
2 TBS Fresh Thyme Leaves 1 each Orange
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper 1/4 cup Fresh Sage Leaves
1 clove Garlic, peeled As Needed Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper


1. To make the brine heat the cooking stock in a large stock pot, but do not boil. Add the salt and sugar, stirring to dissolve. Roughly chop the ginger and add to the pot. Slice open the head of garlic and add. Add the peppercorns, bay leaves, and parsley stems. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Add the ice cubes to the brine liquid, stirring to fully chill the brine. Once the brine is cold remove the fresh (or defrosted) Joyce Farms Heritage Black Turkey from its packaging. Remove the Neck and Liver from the cavity, reserving for later use. Submerge the turkey breast side down in the brine, and allow to soak for 24 hours, turning once. Note: It is suggested to use an oven-bag or a brining-bag to brine the turkey with less mess. If your refrigerator is not large enough to hold the brining turkey you can put the turkey in its brining bag into a cooler, as long as you pack with plenty of ice to keep the temperature of the turkey under 38 degrees F while brining, for food safety.

3. To make the Herb Butter, first soften the unsalted butter to room temperature. Add the Parsley leaves, Thyme leaves, Sage leaves, and Peeled garlic clove to a food processor. Process to a paste. Add the zest of the lemon (set the zested lemon aside to use later) and season with salt and pepper. Add the softened butter and process until the butter is whipped and the mixture is fully blended. With the food processor running, slowly add the white wine.

4. Remove the turkey from the brine mixture and pat dry with paper towels. Gently slide your fingers in between the meat and the skin over the breast meat. Approach from the neck as well as the body cavity to create a pocket. Insert as much of the Herb Butter as possible over each breast lobe. Use your fingers to spread the Herb Butter evenly over the breast meat.
5. Peel and cut the onion in half. Cut the orange and the zested lemon in half. Insert the cut fruit and the onion into the body cavity of the turkey. Insert the remaining sprigs of thyme into the body cavity.
6. Truss, or tie with string, the legs of the turkey to ensure even cooking. Fold the wings under the bird. Place the bird on a roasting rack on a rimmed roasting pan (if you are making a gravy add the neck and liver to the pan to flavor the pan juices), and insert into a pre-heated 325 degree F oven. Allow to cook for two hours, then check the internal temperature by inserting a calibrated probe thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Continue to cook until the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F. If the skin over the breast begins to get too dark, simply loosely cover with aluminum foil while the dark meat continues to cook.
7. Once cooked, allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

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