Friday, January 1, 2010

Brined Turkey

Ok, we're gonna start this recipe extravaganza here with the recipe I used for my brined turkey. i didn't stray too far from this recipe, since it was the first time that I had ever made anything like it, so I was a little worried that I would mess it up somehow and lose all that time, money and defrosting time (this has happened to me with other things before).

The only thing I may have done differently from the recipe, was to brine it for 24 hours, I forgot sage, and the turkey was only 10 pounds instead of the 14-16#. i don't know how much of a difference the sage would have made, as it was awesome without it. And I would still brine it for 24 hours (because the taste was SOOO good). But next time, I would buy a bigger turkey. The result of ours being smaller, was that it was done within almost 2 hours and it was still somewhat dry. The flavor was excellent, but who wants a too dry turkey?

So, without further ado, here is the recipe that I used for my turkey.

Good Eats Roast Turkey

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 vegetable 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


Click here to see how it's done.
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. 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.

* We don't own a microwave, so I just boiled this concoction on the stove for about 3-4 minutes.

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