Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
Thanksgiving is coming up soon and it’s time to talk turkey! When a full turkey is too much for your household, try a bone in turkey breast. These are usually around 8 pounds and serve at least 4 people. For this recipe we are going to soak the turkey overnight in a brine. Brining a turkey will help to flavor the turkey and keep it juicy. This is an optional step as many turkeys from the store are already injected with a basting solution to add flavor and juiciness. But if you have the time, give the brine a try. Another important step is to dry out the skin so that it gets nice and crispy. This recipe will go over several techniques for drying out the skin.
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- 7 – 8 pound bone in turkey breast
- 12 sprigs thyme
- 2 lemons
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 gallon water
If your turkey breast is frozen, let it thaw in the refrigerator for 2 days.
First create a brine by boiling 1 gallon of water along with kosher salt, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and sliced lemons. Bring this to a rolling boil for a few minutes then turn off the heat. You can add ice in a large zip seal bag to speed up the cooling process but do not add ice directly to the brine because this will dilute the solution. When the liquid cools down, place the brine solution into the refrigerator for 1 hour. Next, submerge the turkey breast into the brine and refrigerate it for 8 to 18 hours.
After brining, remove the turkey from the brine and wash it off to remove excess salt. Place the turkey on a cooling rack and pat the skin dry with paper towels. If you have a hair dryer, use it to blow dry the turkey skin for about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a hair drier, you can use a small fan to dry the skin for 10 minutes. Now, if you don’t have a fan or a hair dryer, you can salt the skin and place the turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The idea here is to dry the skin to achieve crispy brown deliciousness. Next carefully remove the wishbone with a small knife. This will greatly improve the slicing of the breast meat.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Rub down the turkey skin with vegetable oil or melted butter. Sprinkle on some powdered sage, kosher salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Place a few sprigs of thyme on the turkey. Move the turkey to a roasting pan and set it in the rack. When the oven is ready, place the turkey in the oven and cook it for 20 minutes. Cooking at this temperature will help dry out and crisp the skin. Next, lower the heat to 325 F and cook for 75 minutes or until the turkey reaches 165 F at the thickest part of the meat. If the skin is darkening too much before cooking is finished, cover the turkey with foil. For reference, turkey breast should cook 20 minutes per pound at about 350F. But we’ve complicated things by cooking first at 425 F and then at 325 F.
When the turkey is finished, cover it with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Slice the turkey and serve it with the pan drippings. You can also use the drippings and the dark brown crispy goodness in the pan to make a gravy. But beware, depending on how much salt was used on the turkey, you may end up with a salty gravy.
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