1. Buy a farm-fresh bird
Tierra Verde Farms Turkeys feed on pasture, gobbling up all the insects and grasses they can. They are supplemented with non-gmo feed and are never given antibiotics. These turkeys live a pretty nice life.
2. Brine your turkey
A good brine is the key to a juicy (ahem…not dry) turkey. Tierra Verde has a great recipe. Check it out here!
3. Don’t stuff your bird.
Stuffing your bird produces a delicious stuffing. But it also pulls moisture from the turkey, leaving it dry, with no amount of gravy capable of salvaging any hint of juiciness. Instead, stuff your bird with aromatic vegetables and herbs like onions, carrots, apples, thyme and rosemary.
4. Skip the basting and get under the skin.
Basting isn't all it's cracked up to be. The turkey doesn't actually absorb many of those juices, as they mostly roll right back down to the bottom. A much more effective strategy is to put herbed butter or ghee underneath the skin. Use about 1/4-1/2 cup of butter and mix in some chopped rosemary, thyme, sage, kosher salt and black pepper, then use your fingers to get underneath the skin and rub it all over the meat. Afterwards, rub your fingers over the skin to get rid of any air bubbles that may have formed underneath the skin. If you don't do this steam will collect in those areas and the bird won't cook evenly. This makes a huge difference.
5. Roast the turkey breast side down.
I know, I know. This sounds blasphemous, especially for all you crispy skin lovers out there (more on that below). But dry turkey breast is probably the most common Thanksgiving cooking blunder. That's because the breast and the thighs and legs cook at different temperatures. The thighs and the legs have more fat than the breast, so they take longer to cook. And by the time they're done, the lean breast is left dry and chewy. This can be alleviated by roasting it breast side down. Then the turkey rests closer to all the juices in the bottom of the pan, keeping it nice and juicy.
But wait, I have one more blasphemous comment for you. I have a theory that crispy skin is actually a myth. Just hear me out! The skin is only crispy right after you take it out of the oven. But you have to allow the bird to rest so it can seal in the juices, and you want to keep it tented with aluminum foil while it's resting. So by the time you're ready to carve it up, the skin has been sitting underneath all that condensation and it isn't crispy anymore. So for those of you who claim that crispy skin is why you don't want to roast it breast side down, I'm sorry to tell you that is a moot point. Just try it. I dare you.