Cooking the perfect turkey is an important part of your holiday meal and over- or under-cooking a turkey can quickly ruin the festivities. Below is a recipe for the perfect turkey, provided by the Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, in Sonora California.
Buying a Diestel Turkey
Diestel turkeys are chilled for freshness. Prior to bagging, the turkeys are chilled in ice (not re-chilled water), in small tanks. Once the turkeys are in the bag, they are refrigerated as cold as they can be, with without freezing them. (While the USDA allows turkeys to be labeled fresh when they are stored low as 26º F, Diestel chills their turkey to just 28º F.)
Chilling is Diestel’s way of maintaining it’s the turkey’s true flavors, since they do not use preservatives or additives. Chilling can result in a cold, firm turkey (which Diestel calls “crusted”), which allows the consumer to buy the turkey, bring it home and still have enough time for another last-minute stop before arriving home. These firm turkeys will easily soften by submerging the turkey, in its bag, under cold running water.
Roasting a Diestel Turkey
After years of experimenting, this is Diestel’s preferred method of roasting their turkeys:
Preheat the oven to 325º F. Remove the oven-ready turkey from the bag, remove the neck and giblets from the body cavities and rinse the bird with cold water. Pat turkey dry with a paper towel. Now is the time to stuff your bird, if you choose to do so.
Rub the exterior of turkey with a blend of your favorite herbs and spices - the merchants at Dragunara Spice Bazaar can help you create a flavor profile or with a paste made of the following ingredients:
Diestel Turkey Rub
4 Tbsp oil, (melted butter, margarine, olive oil, etc.)
4 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 tsp. paprika
Place the turkey in an open roasting pan, breast side up. Cover the bottom of the pan with approximately 2 cups water or broth. Place your turkey in the oven. Keep the oven heated to 325 degrees and be sure to check the temperature throughout the roasting time so you don’t over-roast. The internal temperature typically increases more rapidly during the last half of roasting.
There is no need to turn the bird while roasting as it will brown to a rich, golden color. A foil tent can be placed loosely over the turkey during the last hour of roasting to prevent over browning. When the turkey reaches the desired internal temperature, remove from the oven. Cover and let stand for at least 15 minute before carving.
Weight Roasting Time
6-10 lbs. approx. 2 hrs.
10-12 lbs. 3 – 3 1/4 hrs.
12-14 lbs. 3 1/4 – 3 1/2 hrs.
14-16 lbs. 3 1/2 – 3 3/4 hrs.
16-18 lbs. 3 3/4 – 4 hrs.
18-20 lbs. 4 – 4 1/2 hrs.
20-22 lbs. 4 1/2 – 5 hrs.
22-24 lbs. 5 – 5 1/4 hrs.
24-27 lbs. 5 – 5 1/2 hrs.
28-30 lbs. 5 1/4 – 5 1/2 hrs.
30-32 lbs. 5 1/2 – 5 3/4 hrs.
32-34 lbs. 5 3/4 – 6 1/4 hrs.
34-36+ lbs. 6 1/4 – 6 1/2 hrs.
For truly marvelous gravy, heat (do not boil) 1 cup white wine. Pour this over your turkey halfway through the roasting period.
After removing the turkey from the pan, skim and strain freshly roasted turkey drippings into a saucepan over medium heat. If you’re short on drippings, add 1-2 cups water or broth into your roasting pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Strain and incorporate into your drippings.
Whisking constantly, gradually add drippings to a roux (butter cooked with flour). Reduce heat to low; simmer gently for gravy to thicken and flavors to meld. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Diestel Turkeys are available at Farmers Market Poultry, Stall #216. Call (323) 936-8185 to pre-order.