Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Roasted Turkey

Now the star of Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey, but it can also be the scariest part too. You always have to worry about overcooking it and drying it out. Or there is the danger of under cooking it and poisoning your guests.  The first time I made a turkey I had my mom come over and hold my hand the whole time. She told me the story about the first time she made a turkey and she forgot to take the innards out. I think the worse thing that happened to me while making the turkey was when I was moving the brine to the refrigerator and I spilled the entire batch on me and the kitchen floor.

For the past few years I have been using Alton Brown's Roasted Turkey recipe, it comes out perfect every time. If it isn't broke, don't try to fix it. You can click on the link to find the actual recipe.



  • 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

2 to 3 days before roasting:

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

Combine all the brine ingredients except for the iced water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.


On the night before you plan to eat.

Combine the brine, water and ice. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. Refrigerate 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


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.


Any Thanksgiving disaster stories you would like to share?

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