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Thanksgiving 2009 – Turkey

Posted by Jeanne on November 28, 2009

Success!  Things went really well, just about everyone ate just about everything, and we actually sat down at the table 15 minutes BEFORE goal time.

The prep list:

Prep list.  Yes, I am insane.

Yes, I am insane.

I have used Alton Brown’s “Good Eats Roast Turkey” technique of brining the bird and then roasting at high heat for the first 30 minutes for the past few years.  It worked really well again this year.

The brine (we had a 14 lb turkey – if your turkey is much larger, you might want to make 1.5 times this amount):

1 cup salt

1 quart apple cider

1 quart turkey or chicken stock (or water)

8 cloves of garlic, smashed lightly

Whole black peppercorns

10 lbs of ice

3 or 4 quarts of cold water

A cooler

A probe thermometer

Combine salt, cider, stock, garlic, and peppercorns.  Bring to a boil and stir occasionally until salt is dissolved.

Put half the ice in the cooler, and add the brine mixture – stir until the liquid is cool and the ice is mostly melted.

Remove your thawed turkey from the refrigerator.  Remove the giblets and whatnot from the inside and return those to the refrigerator.  Put the turkey in the cooled brine (it will not cover it all the way) breast side down.

Pour remaining ice and cold water over the turkey and brine mixture, until the turkey is just submerged.

Leave the turkey in the briny deep (yar, matey!) overnight.  If you are nervous about temperature, you can put the probe thermometer in the turkey cavity before you put it in the brine.  The turkey should remain under 40F at all times.

I usually skip this step because I have brined many turkeys this way and the ice is never melted the next day anyway.

I think I need a real roasting pan one of these days.  So after the turkey came out of the brine, we folded the wings under so the tips wouldn’t burn and placed it in an 11×17 Pyrex dish. I quartered three apples and put some in the roasting dish as well as in the cavity.

Insert probe thermometer into the turkey breast – be careful not to rest the thermometer against the bones or you’ll get an inaccurate reading.  Roasted it at 500F for 30 minutes (open all the windows unless it is snowing or something… trust me) and then lowered the heat to 350 until the thermometer read 165F – probably about 2 to 2.5 hours.

Rested the turkey for about 45 minutes (20 would be fine, but it was done pretty early and we had quite a few other dishes to make) and then carve.

This post is long enough, I think – will talk about sides later.

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