Turkey Beast with crispy skin & juicy meat
My herb buttermilk marinade recipe produces a Roast Turkey Breast with extra crispy skin and tender, juicy meat. The perfect blend of herbs and spices make this Herb Buttermilk Marinated Turkey Breast a mouthwatering favorite of my family. Oddly enough no one in my family likes the dark meat on turkey, so the drum sticks, thighs, and wings are wasted. Because of this, for the past several years we have only been baking the turkey breast at Thanksgiving and it has been a big hit. The turkey breast in the picture is roughly around 6 pounds, so there is more than enough meat to feed my family.
I’ve been using this Buttermilk Marinade on chicken for years!
Marinating a chicken overnight in a buttermilk marinade and spices is a very traditional method in the southern USA before frying. The buttermilk, salt, and other spices act as a brine to infuse a tremendous amount of flavor into the chicken. When it came to marinating a turkey, I was hesitant to bake a whole turkey this way. Buttermilk marinades make the skin crisp and give it a dark golden brown color. However, a large turkey may be in the oven for a much longer time and I believe that the skin would be burned before the meat was cooked. Therefore, I do not recommend cooking a whole turkey with this marinade. However, if you want to remove the drumsticks, thighs, and wings, they can be marinated in and roasted exactly the same way.
No basting required for this crispy skin!
Important information when Roasting Turkey
- Turkey Cooking time: If everyone is expecting to eat at 3 o’clock, that turkey had better be roasted, rested and ready to carve at 2:45. Here are the cooking times for roasting an unstuffed turkey @ 325 °F, if you’re stuffing the bird (I don’t recommend) add 20-30 minutes to these times. Roast the turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes before carving
- Cooking time for a 14-23-pound turkey: 325°F for 2-3 hr.
- Cooking time for a 24-27-pound. turkey: 325°F for 3-3 3/4 hr.
- Cooking time for a 28-30-pound turkey: Bake in a 325° oven for 3 1/2-4 1/2 hr.
- Turkey Seasonings: The dry rub I like to use for turkey is named after the Simon and Garfunkel song ‘Scarborough Fair’! Yes, you guessed it, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are the main ingredients, there are many recipes for this rub on the internet, I will give you my version, it’s easy to make and lasts for months. I add it just after the salt and let the flavors absorb into the turkey overnight. I use about 1 teaspoon of dry rub per 1 pound of turkey, 15-pound bird = 15 teaspoons of dry rub, rough 1/3 of a cup
- Defrosting: Defrosting a turkey takes time! A frozen turkey takes several days to defrost in the refrigerator and the bigger the turkey the longer it takes. You need to plan for roughly 5-6 hours for every one pound of turkey. Example: a 15-pound turkey takes roughly around 4-5 days plus we need 24 hours to brine the bird before roasting. Therefore, take the (15-pound) turkey out of the freezer no later than Sunday morning.
The onions, lemons and rosemary help prevent the turkey from sticking and perfume the turkey breasts as the roast.
Forget to buy Buttermilk?
Buttermilk is one of those things we do not have in the refrigerator unless we have planned on it well in advance. Luckily, I have a very simple Buttermilk Substitute recipe for just such an occasion. Because you can’t make Herb Buttermilk Marinade without it! Or buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk biscuit, etc. etc.
What to eat with Herb Buttermilk Marinated Turkey Breast
Here’s my Scarborough Fair Dry Rub recipe:
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Sage
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Rosemary
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Thyme
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
-Combine all ingredients
-Can be stored for up to 3 months
How to marinate the Herb Buttermilk Turkey Breast
My Herb Buttermilk Marinade is a type of brine. The sodium in a brine acts to keep the meat moist while roasting, resulting in a much juicier Roasted Turkey. A good rule of thumb and my basic formula for a brine is 1:1, 1-teaspoon salt per 1-pound of meat.
- 6 Pound Turkey Breast
- 1 Pint Buttermilk (Buttermilk Substitute Recipe Here)
- ¼ Cup Scarborough Fair Dry Rub
- 2 Tablespoons Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
-Combine all ingredients with turkey breast in a large sealable plastic bag
-Marinate 4-24 hours
***My basic formula for a Turkey Brine is 1-teaspoon of salt per 1-pound of meat.
How to Roast the Turkey Breast
- 2 Red Onions, cut into 8ths, leave the root intact so it holds together
- 1 Lemon, cut into 8ths
- 2-3 Sprigs Rosemary
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Pre-Marinated Turkey Breast
-Preheat oven to 325°F
-Line the bottom of a casserole with the onions, lemons, rosemary and oil as a base for the turkey to roast on.
-Remove the turkey from the marinade, discard the marinade
-Place the turkey in the casserole dish and place in the oven for approximately 2-2 ½ hours, rotate the casserole dish every 30 minutes
- Roast the turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165°F. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes before carving