Note: We believe that a fresh turkey is far better than a frozen and thawed turkey if you want to serve a juicy bird at your meal. You will pay more, but we feel it is worth it to spend the extra dollars for a special holiday meal.
- 1 12-14 pound fresh turkey, see note
- 1 cup apple cider
- 12 tablespoons butter, softened
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large carrot, quartered
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 1 large stalk celery, quartered
- 2 whole garlic cloves, cut in half
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- Rinse and pat dry the turkey and place in a roasting pan in a V-shaped rack. The neck and gizzards will not be used for this recipe.
- Place the cider in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil until it is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, mix the softened butter with four tablespoons of the syrup, one tablespoon of the reduced cider, one tablespoon of the mustard and the salt.
- This mixture will be placed under and over the skin so if it is too lose, use a turkey baster to squirt under the skin, otherwise use your hands to spread. Do this by running your fingers under the skin around the front and back of each breast and as far as you can into the thighs and legs without tearing the skin to loosen the skin. Then place ¾ of the mixture under the skin you loosened. Take the remaining butter mixture and rub all over the outside skin.
- Place the carrot, onion, celery and garlic around the outside edges of the rack and pour the stock into the bottom of the pan. These will help flavor your gravy but will have no effect on the taste of the turkey. Do not place anything into the cavity of the turkey.
- Place an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set the temp to alarm at 150 degrees F. (don’t worry, it will be cooked longer, this is just to remind you to put the glaze on)
- Place it in the oven uncovered for 45 minutes.
- While the turkey is cooking, mix the remaining tablespoon of cider, tablespoon of mustard and two tablespoons of maple syrup together to make the glaze. Set this aside for later in the recipe.
- After 45 minutes, cover the turkey with a tent of tinfoil and bake until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees, about two hours for a 12 pound turkey, give or take depending on the size of your bird.
- Remove the foil and glaze the skin of the turkey and place back in the oven until the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees. If the turkey is already very browned, then keep the foil on. If not, leave off for the remaining cooking time.
- Once at 160 degrees F, (about 2½ to 3 hours total), remove from the oven and tent loosely with foil. Do not remove the probe of the thermometer until after the turkey has rested.
- Let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
- If making gravy, remove the turkey to a platter to rest, pour water or stock into the pan and cook over stove burners to loosen the brown bits. Cook for about ten minutes to extract flavor from the vegetables. Thicken with a paste of butter and flour and continue to cook for three minutes. Season and strain into a gravy boat, discarding the solids.