Connect with Chef Alli

Friday, November 22, 2013

Roasting a Simple, Delicious Thanksgiving Turkey

This is an altered version of an Alton Brown recipe. Feel free to substitute any brine recipe you'd prefer.  

Yield: 8-10 servings, with leftovers for later.

1-1/2 cups Kosher salt
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 gallon water, divided use
10 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tbs. peppercorns
5-6 sprigs fresh rosemary, rolled with a rolling pin to release essence/oils
12-14 lb. turkey
Canola oil, for rubbing over turkey

Turkey Aromatics
1 yellow onion, halved
1 lemon, halved
1 orange, halved
1 head garlic, halved
2 bundles fresh thyme, divided use
2 bundles fresh sage, divided use

Vegetable or canola oil, for basting

Brining the Turkey:
  • Dissolve the salt and sugar in 1 quart of boiling water; add the smashed garlic, peppercorns, and fresh rosemary.  Cool the brine solution with 3 quarts of cold water. 
  • Remove the giblets (and any other foreign matter) from the turkey interior and rinse well; place turkey in a nice, clean cooler. Pour in the cooled brine mixture to cover. If the turkey is not completely submerged in the brine, add more liquid (chicken broth is great, but can add water if needed) to cover the turkey.    
  • Cover with ice, close the lid, and brine the turkey for 10-12 hours. (Exact soak times will vary. Start with 10 hours and make changes per your taste to subsequent bird.)

Roasting the Turkey:
  •         Move the oven rack to the lowest level and preheat the oven to 500˚F. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse to remove any of the fresh herbs that may have stuck to the skin; pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine and thoroughly wash the cooler.
  •       Rub the turkey liberally with canola oil, taking care to get all the nooks and crannies around the wings and legs – everywhere!
  •       If pop-up thermometer is still inserted in turkey, promptly pull out and discard. 
  •      Remove wire that hold holds turkey legs together so that the cavity of the turkey is open and exposed.  Push onion, lemon, orange and garlic halves into turkey cavity.  Lastly, insert 1 bundle each of thyme and sage, letting them protrude from turkey cavity, as necessary.
  •     Set the prepared turkey on a greased roasting rack in a roasting pan and place into the preheated oven. Roast at 500˚F for 1/2 hour or until nicely browned.
  •     Remove the turkey from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Cover the turkey with a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil.  Roast turkey for an additional 2 – 2½ hours or until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees in the thigh. 
  •    Remove the turkey from the oven, keeping the bird covered with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving to allow turkey to re-absorb it's juices. Once turkey has had it's rest, it's time to carve and eat.  

·     Now You’re Cookin’,

Chef Alli