Wild Turkey Squared (Roast Turkey and Bourbon Gravy)

Ingredients:

  • One 18-pound fresh turkey
  • Cornbread Succotash Stuffing or your favorite stuffing recipe
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 8½ cups Homemade Turkey Stock or Chicken Stock
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp Wild Turkey 101 bourbon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Rinse the turkey well with cold water and pat dry. Remove the fat from the tail area and reserve it. (If there isn’t any fat, don’t worry.) Turn the turkey on its breast. Loosely fill the neck cavity with the stuffing. Pin the neck skin to the back skin with a thin wooden or metal skewer. Fold the wings akimbo behind the back or tie to the body with kitchen string. Loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing. Place any remaining stuffing in a lightly buttered casserole, cover, and refrigerate to bake as a side dish. Secure the drumsticks at the tail with a clip or tie with kitchen string. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Rub the turkey with the softened butter. Season with salt and pepper. Place the reserved turkey fat in the pan. Tightly cover the breast area with aluminum foil. Pour 2 cups of stock in the bottom of the pan.

Roast, basting about every 45 minutes with the drippings in the pan (lift up the foil to reach the breast area), until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching a bone) reads 180°F to 185°F and the stuffing is at least 165°F, about 41 /2 hours. As the drippings in the pan evaporate, add 2 cups water. During the last hour, remove the foil to allow the skin to brown, making sure to baste a couple of times before the turkey is done to color the skin with the pan juices.

Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F. Drizzle the stuffing with ½ cup of turkey stock, cover, and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the drippings from the pan into a large glass bowl or gravy separator. Let stand for 5 minutes; skim off and reserve the clear yellow fat on the surface (or pour off the drippings and reserve both the drippings and fat in a separator). Add enough turkey stock to the skimmed drippings to make 6 cups total.

Place the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Add ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon of the reserved turkey fat (if necessary, add melted butter to make up any shortage). Whisk in the flour, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and let bubble until beige, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the turkey liquid and bourbon. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. (If the gravy seems too thick, add more stock or water.) Season with salt and pepper. Strain the gravy, if desired. Transfer to a warmed gravy boat. Carve the turkey (see “Carving Up,”), and serve the gravy and stuffing alongside.

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