By Shai Barak
Servings: n/a



Defrost the turkey in the refrigerator a week before using. After two to three days in the fridge, you can take off of plastic bag, take out bag with giblets as well as plastic or metal contraption from the main cavity. Place in a large plastic bag (I use a clean kitchen trash bag). Place in a large bowl (in case the bag leaks) and pour a mixture of apple juice (2-3 cups), lemon juice (1-2 Tbs.), salt (1-2 tsp.), paprika (regular, not hot - 1Tbs), dried dill weed (2-3 Tbs.) and fresh crushed garlic (6-8 cloves, maybe more). Taste the mixture before pouring on the turkey in the bag, this way you can adjust flavors (and not get salmonella). Close the bag tightly and return to the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Turn upside down and around once a day.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (can do 350 but shorten times). Take the turkey out of the marinade, and place (breast up) on a rack (or cubed potatoes) in a large roasting pan (place the edge of the wings behind the turkey). Partially separate the skin from the breast by poking a finger inside. Shove 2-3 Tbs butter between the meat and the skin. If using a whole turkey or turkey breast, place a few tablespoons of salted butter between the skin and the breast. When using a whole turkey, tuck the wings behind the back.

Place the turkey (or turkey parts) in a roasting pan on a rack, pour the marinade on top. Pour the marinade on top on the turkey and bake until nicely browned (about 2-2.5 hours). Periodically baste with butter and liquids. If any parts get overbrown, cover in tinfoil. Check the liquids at the bottom of the pan during baking, and add boiled water if needed.

Take out of the oven and turn bottom side up (I need to wait until it's cooled a little in order to handle it, about 1/2 hour). Baste with the liquids from the pan and return to the oven until completely brown (1/2 - 1 hour). Make sure it's fully cooked by poking the thigh near the bone with a knife and checking that the liquids that run out are clear. Let stand before carving (breast side up).

If you want to make gravy, I cook a small soup from the giblets (the liver might be too powerful in flavor so you may want to leave it out), neck bone, and butt (excuse me, tail), a carrot, an onion, dill weed, salt and water. Cook for 1.5-2 hours. Make a roux by melting 3-4 tbsp. butter and mixing in 3-4 tbsp. all purpose flour. Gradually add the boiling soup (you probably won't need all of it), and cook until thick.