Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

When the holidays roll around, I get all warm and fuzzy all the time.  On top of spending time with family and friends, my FAVORITE thing about the holidays are the holiday dinners I get to cook for.  It may take weeks of planning, days of preparation, and hours of cooking, but I'm always completely grateful and excited when I get to put a wonderful meal on the table for the ones I love.
Thanksgiving dinner 2008 at my mom's
Ever since I was in college I was testing different ways to prep a turkey.  It turns out my favorite turkeys are the ones I brine.  They're so juicy and flavorful, it never fails me.  Definitely allot hours ahead to cook and cool the brine, and then to marinate the turkey in the brine.  You'll definitely be happy of the outcome, and won't mind the time spent on it.

Brined Roast Turkey

  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 2 large carrots cut on the diagonal
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • 1 cup of melted butter
  • Pineapple slices & curly parsley for garnish


2 to 3 days before roasting

  1. Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator
  2. Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
The night before you'd like to eat:

  1. Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
About 3hrs before you eat (depends on the size of your turkey):

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
  2. Place the turkey on the roasting rack inside a pan and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with melted butter.
  4. Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. 
  5. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
me trying to get the first bite
my mom carving the turkey! as we all wait patiently to dig in
Hope you all have a wonderful and warm Thanksgiving!

Thank you for reading today!

<3 roe

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