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Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

November 06, 2018

Most of us only cook turkey once a year so it is more than a little intimidating when November rolls around and we have to do it all over again.  We've found there are two keys to getting a perfectly cooked turkey every time:

  1. A meat thermometer.  Every oven is different so cooking temperatures and times can vary but if you're cooking to a specific internal temperature, you can't go wrong;
  2. Brining the turkey ahead of time;

This simple brining method can be started the night before and is a great way to make sure you're serving a perfectly tender, juicy and delicious turkey.

Ingredients 

The Brine

  • 1 cup salt;
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock;
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar;
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns;
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Allspice berries;
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons candied ginger (chopped);
  • 1 gallon water with lots of ice;

The Aromatics

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

Timing Notes

  • Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours or until completely thawed;
  • The brine needs to be at room temperature or cooler before using.  You can make the brine ahead of time and store in the refrigerator;
  • Bringing process lasts 12-18 hours before turkey goes into the oven;

Preparation

To Make the Brine

  • To a large stock pot add vegetable stock, salt brown sugar, peppercorns, Allspice and candied ginger;
  • Cook over medium-heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to boil;
  • Once boiling, remove from the heat and let cook to room temperature;
  • Store in the refrigerator in a food storage container if not using right away;

Brining the Turkey

  • Prepare the turkey by removing all the innards and double checking to make sure it is completely thawed;
  • Pour the brine, water and lots of ice into a container that is large enough to also hold the turkey and will seal tightly.  If you're not sure what to use, be sure to see our blog post on the Perfect Turkey Briner;
  • Put the turkey in the brine, breast-side down, and make sure it is fully immersed;
  • Cover the brining container and set aside for 6-9 hours (pro-tip: put the turkey in the brine right before you go to bed on Wednesday night);
  • 6-9 hours later, pull out the turkey, turn it over, put back in the brine, close the lid and let sit for another 6-9 hours;

Time to Cook!

  1. Preheat over to 500 degrees and set rack to lowest level;
  2. Remove turkey from the brine and rinse thoroughly inside and out with cold water (you can pour out the brine, you're done with it);
  3. Put the turkey on your roasting rack and pat dry on all sides with paper towels;
  4. While the over is preheating, steep the aromatics by putting the apple slices, onion slices, cinnamon stick and 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes.  When done, put the aromatics, rosemary and sage into the turkey's cavity;
  5. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and then use the canola to coat the turkey's skin on all sides (don't forget to get into all the nooks and crannies);
  6. When the oven is ready, place the turkey (in the roaster) on the lowest rack and set a timer for 30 minutes--do not open the oven door for the next 30 minutes!!;
  7. After 30 minutes, insert your meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, lower the oven to 350 degrees and put the turkey back into the oven;
  8. Cook until the internal temperature is 161 degrees (about 2 hours for a 12-14 pound turkey).
  9. Pro Tip:  Do not open the oven door during this stage!  If you're worried about the skin burning, cover the breast of the turkey with aluminum foil after the first 30 minutes when you're inserting your meat thermometer (though we don't usually add aluminum foil and it comes out fine);
  10. One the internal temperature hits 161 degrees, take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving 

Serving

  • Carve and serve!;
  • Save room for pie...

Enjoy!

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