Get Your Turkey On

November 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

© Williams Sonoma

Happy Thanksgiving! Here at Be Sweet we’re gearing up for a little knitting, wearing some woolens and most importantly, stuffing ourselves to the gills with tasty Thanksgiving Day fare.

One of the great things about cooking a turkey is it takes time. If you’re a planner, you can take care of the pie, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed and green beans beforehand. Get that all out of the way then throw the bird in the oven. While it’s cooking away, seize upon the next few hours to grab your needles and knit away until the feast begins. After all, who’s going to knit after they find themselves slipping into a turkey coma?

I’m always surprised at the amount of calls I get on Thanksgiving from friends who have never cooked a turkey before. In honor of those friends (and maybe even you, dear reader) here at Be Sweet we’re making the work easy for you with a fabulous turkey recipe from Williams Sonoma.

A long soak in a seasoned saltwater brine ensures the turkey will emerge juicy and exceptionally delicious. The salt penetrates deep into the meat, drawing in moisture while adding layers of flavor. Our turkey brine combines aromatic spices and sweet apples with tangy citrus zest and sea salt.


  • 1 jar (1 lb. 2.2 oz.) turkey brine—apple and spices
  • 1 fresh turkey, 16 to 18 lb, neck, heart and gizzard removed (reserved, if desired)
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbs. finely minced fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbs. finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper


Prepare the turkey brine and brine the turkey according to the package instructions. Remove the turkey from the brine; discard the brine. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

In a small bowl, stir together the butter, thyme and parsley until well blended. Gently slide your fingers under the breast to loosen the skin and work your fingers down to the thigh, being careful not to tear the skin. Spread half of the butter mixture evenly under the skin, then spread the remaining butter evenly on the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle with the pepper. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine.

Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. If the breast begins to cook too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. After about 2 hours of total roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. If desired, reserve the pan drippings for making gravy. Serves 12 to 14. © Williams-Sonoma Kitchen. 

If you’re lucky enough to have someone do the cooking for you, this is the perfect time to start your holiday knitting, or perhaps knit a gift for your host? Check out the free pattern for these super cute and useful turkey wash clothes by Rhonda White. Knit them up in Be Sweet’s Bambino for a perfect gift! Your host will thank you and it’ll make the clean up less painful.

From all of us here at Be Sweet to you at home with your knitting and turkey (or maybe even tofurkey) we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. Stay safe and get your turkey on!


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