The turkey is always the “big deal” of the Thanksgiving feast, yet many worry that it’s too hard to roast their own whole turkey. This Free-Range Pastured Whole Turkey recipe yields delicious, juicy results without a ton of headache. Pastured turkeys are generally smaller in size, but this whole turkey recipe also works with free-range, organic, or conventional turkeys just as well. You’ll be sure to delight the palates of your guests with this exceptionally mouth-watering bird that is anything but dry.
You may want to brine your turkey overnight or for a few hours before popping it in the oven, to help retain moisture in the meat during cooking. If you have purchased a frozen turkey, you will need to thaw it 3-4 days before you intend to brine it or roast it. Thaw by placing on a tray in the refrigerator in the original packaging. Do not thaw at room temperature.
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Free-Range Pastured Whole Turkey
Total Time: 3 hours
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 3-5 hours
- 12 pound(s) turkey, whole, free-range
- 1 piece(s) roasting pan (with lid or poultry baking bag)
- 2 medium onion(s) cut into quarters
- 1 medium onion(s), red cut into quarters
- 3 large carrot(s) cut into 1-inch sections
- 4 medium apple(s), tart cored, and cut into quarters
- 3 medium garlic clove(s) peeled and quartered
- 20 slice(s) bacon about 1 pound
- 1 tablespoon(s) paprika
- 2 teaspoon(s) sea salt
- 1/4 cup(s) coconut oil
- 1 cup(s) water
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Remove turkey from any wrapping (or from the brine) and remove the neck and gizzards by pulling it out of the open cavity. You may discard the neck or save to be used with the gravy. Wash the turkey under cold water for a minute. Pat dry with paper towels and place upside down on a plate or tray.
- Using a basting brush (or your fingers), lift the skin and coat the turkey on all sides with coconut oil. (Be careful, this can get slick!) Place the turkey breast side up in the roaster. Sprinkle the paprika and sea salt over the turkey. Pour the water into the bottom of the pan.
- Stuff the turkey with some of the onions, apples, garlic, carrots, and all of the bacon until the cavity is full. Place the remaining apples, onions, carrots, and garlic in the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Place the lid on the pan. (If using a roasting bag, place the apples, onions, and garlic in the bottom of the bag and add the turkey. Be sure to follow the instructions for the baking bag by adding slits where directed to do so.)
- Roast covered in the oven for 60 minutes. Remove the lid and increase the oven temperature to 335 F. Allow the turkey to roast for another 2 hours and then check the temperature using a meat thermometer. Continue to check the temperature every 30 minutes after that. (Insert into the thick part of the breast, but not touching the bone.) Breast meat should be 165-170 F to be done. When it reaches that temperature, remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. (If using a roasting bag, do not remove the bag during the cooking process, and do not increase the oven temperature. Continue to check temps as directed.)