11/19/2014 04:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Secret to Thomas Keller's Roast Turkey Is Doing Absolutely Nothing

by Adina Steiman

A Thanksgiving Turkey | Photo: Romulo Yanes

When we asked renowned chef Thomas Keller to share his favorite recipe for roast turkey with us, as a kind of sequel to his insanely popular My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken, we expected to be amazed by a brilliant, cheffy trick that would make our roast turkey better than ever. And you know what? We were. But the biggest surprise of all is that the trick is simply: Do Nothing.

It's true. Once you've brined your bird and removed it from the liquid, resist the urge to brush it with clarified butter and roast it at high heat. Instead, you'll want to sink into a zen-like, meditative state and allow the turkey to sit, uncovered, in the fridge. For a full day.

Turns out, letting the turkey rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours after it's been brined is the key to an especially crispy, golden-brown bird. Moisture is the enemy of golden, crispy skin, and allowing the bird to air-dry, uncovered, eliminates far more moisture than simply patting the turkey dry with paper towels would.

Yes, the process takes time. But it's time that requires nothing in the way of effort from you. Just follow Keller's lead and start your turkey two days ahead, which will give you ample time to brine and air-dry your bird.

Then, when you're ready to roast your turkey, brush it with clarified butter instead of ordinary melted butter (just one more reason to make a batch of the stuff). Keller prefers to use it since clarified butter has had all its water content removed, so it helps create especially crispy skin.

Check out all the details on how Chef Keller achieves his amazingly juicy Thanksgiving turkey.

Get the recipe: My Favorite Roast Turkey

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