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How to Prep a Butter-Basted Turkey

Watch and learn our techniques on how to prep a butter-basted turkey for Thanksgiving, Christmas or year-round in this video from EVERY DAY WITH RACHAEL RAY magazine. From our collection of Step by Step cooking videos.

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-Hi. My name is Katie Barreira. I'm the test kitchen associate here at Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, and today, I'm going to be taking you through the steps of butter-basting a turkey. So here we have our bird in a roasting pan on a rack. The neck and the giblets have been taken out, the cavity has been rinsed, and the whole bird has been patted dry; and that will really help get the crispy brown crackling crust that you want. So, the first thing that we're gonna do is start with an onion. We're not using a stuffing in this bird; but even if you're not gonna stuff you're bird, it's nice to have some aromatics in there. You could use celery, carrot; it will really perfume the meat and also add a lot of flavor to your pan juices for that great gravy. So just throw those right in the cavity. And then, here we have a mixture of softened butter, it's about 4 tablespoons, and fresh thyme leaves and salt and pepper, a half teaspoon each. You could use any kind of fresh herb. Tarragon works really nicely. Or, you could go for a dry spice like chilly powder and get things a little spicy on your Thanksgiving. So, this is the fun part. Just gonna pick up a pat of butter here and start working the butter down under the skin. If there are any parts of the skin that are sticking, it's okay. Right here, this is sticking. I'm just gonna around it. Not every single part has to have butter all over it. You wanna work down towards the legs, behind the thigh, make sure you're getting the entire breast. This is instead of buttering or oiling your turkey and this way, the seasoning gets right on to the meat. And having the butter underneath the skin and the skin separated from the flesh, actually will help the skin get super brown. The thyme leaves are also nice because you can see them coming through the kind of translucent skin so I can, on the outside, just move the butter around so that it looks like it's even. Now, I'm just gonna tuck the wings under so that they don't burn, take the wing tip, just kinda lift them up a little bit there. And, it takes a little bit of force; it might feel like you're gonna break it, but you won't. And, you just press the wing down, shove it underneath, and it's nice and safe tight to the body so that won't burn. Okay. Then, we're just gonna finish off by tying the legs together, keep it nice and tight, keep it shaped. I don't know about you but I think the knot is perfectly fine, trussing-- you know, maybe if I was stuffing it and wanted to keep these really close in. But for these purposes, tie a knot around those guys and call it a day. Now, we're just gonna season the outside of the bird with some salt and pepper. A little restaurant tip, the higher you season the bird or whatever from the more evenly it's seasoned, the bigger mess it makes, which is always fun too. Finish off the seasoning with some black pepper, freshly-ground, and then we're gonna get an over-safe thermometer. This is going to in the thigh of the turkey and it's gonna stay in the entire time that we're roasting. So the trick here is that you wanna get it deep into the thigh without having the tip of it against the bone. So press it in towards the bird and make sure that you're not feeling any bone against it. And I also wanna make sure to put it in a location that I'll be able to read it easily from the inside of the oven. So that's all set. We're ready to get that in the oven. Thanks so much for watching.