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Friday, June 17, 2011

How To Roast A Turkey

I was majorly in the dog house on Tuesday. After I went out for my daily shopping errands to score some major deals, I came home to roses, steaks, and a present from Dan for our third year anniversary. It was very sweet of him, but I felt bad because I was completely unprepared. We have an agreement - nothing on those types of days.  

I wanted to do something to make up for it. I had a turkey that was frozen so I decided to thaw the sucker and make a roasted turkey. Here was my dilemma - I had no idea how to roast a turkey. So I turned to the master of roasting turkey, Alton Brown. I've always wanted roast a turkey, but I never have never hosted a major holiday that involved turkey. I brined the turkey overnight and baked it according to the directions. The turkey was absolutely delicious - the best I've ever had. The absolute best thing? I was out of the doghouse. Thank you, 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 (I omitted this)
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 (if using) 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.

Feel better having step by step directions? Click here to see how it's done.

Source: Slightly adapted from Good Eats Roast Turkey Recipe

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