Prep 2 hrs 45 mins
Cook 2 hrs 55 mins
I have been making this turkey every Thanksgiving for the last 15 years or so! It always produces a tender, moist meat and flavorful skin, and I can't imagine making turkey any other way. The key is that you must use PURE maple syrup (not pancake syrup) and FRESH pressed apple cider (not apple juice). I usually make the maple herb butter the day before, so it's ready Thanksgiving morning. You can make it up to 2 days ahead, if you like. I also stuff my turkey, but if you don't, just add some chopped onion, celery and carrots to the cavity when roasting.
- 1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 cups fresh pressed apple cider
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
- 1⁄2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 (14 lb) whole turkey (not Butterball)
- Boil apple cider and maple syrup in a heavy, large saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to about 1/2 cup (this should take roughly 20 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in thyme and marjoram with lemon peel. Add butter and whisk until melted. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours).
- Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. After cleaning turkey, pat dry with paper towels. Please turkey on rack set in a large roasting pan.
- Slide hand under breast skin to loosen the skin. Rub about 1/2 cup of the maple her butter over the breast meat under the skin.
- If stuffing turkey, spoon stuffing into main cavity and neck cavity and truss.
- Rub remaining butter mixture all over the outside of the turkey. Make sure there is a generous amount on drumsticks and wings, and wrap them in foil. Leave the rest of the turkey uncovered. Pour broth into pan.
- Roast turkey for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Remove foil from drumsticks and wings. Make a loose tent out of heavy-duty aluminum foil and roast until meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees, or until juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer. Baste occasionally with pan juices as the turkey roasts, about 2 hours 25 minutes for unstuffed turkey or 2 hours and 55 minutes for a stuffed turkey.
- Transfer turkey to platter, tent with aluminum foil and let stand 30 minutes.