Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is now less than a week away. It's time to start prepping for the big day. Each year I make the turkey and have used the same recipe every time. The turkey always comes out perfectly moist and delicious. I usually brine the turkey in a 5 gallon bucket, you can buy a new/never used one at Lowe's or Home Depot. Then I just store the bucket in the fridge overnight to keep chilled. Or if you don't have the room in your fridge, I have also brined the turkey in a medium size cooler. With the ice in the brine and the cooler lid kept tight, the turkey will stay at a safe cold temperature over night. Since the brine needs to be completely chilled before soaking the turkey in it, I usually prepare the brine 2 days before Thanksgiving. Then the night before Thanksgiving day all I need to do is clean the turkey and soak it over night in the brine. It couldn't get any easier. Follow the directions exactly as the recipe states for cooking the turkey. Yes the recipe is correct for cooking the turkey at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. This gives the turkey that fabulous golden color that is picture perfect. This high temperature may cause a lot of smoke from the fat drippings. Adding watering into the bottom of the pan may help reduce the smoke. After you decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees, place tin foil (AKA *turkey triangle) over the turkey breast, and place the temperature probe into the turkey, you can sit back and relax. Don't touch the oven door till you hear that thermometer alarm. I encourage you to view this video found at the Food Network website for more information about this recipe, specifically on roasting the turkey and using the *turkey triangle.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown


  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

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

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

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.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

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.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

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 canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Make a * turkey foil triangle * and place it over the turkey breast then 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. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.