Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner- Turkey Brine & Roasting

Brining takes place the day before you'll be preparing the turkey.

Brines a 10-15lb turkey.

1 gallon water
1 medium onion, roughly chopped, peel still in tact
1 end of a celery bunch (the part you'd throw out), rinsed
4 cloves garlic sliced in 1/2, peel still on
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
1 tbsp whole coriander
4 dried bay leaves
1 cup sea salt
1/2 cup raw sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

(Thaw your turkey prior to brining.)

In the morning before you are going to brine-
Add everything to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil on medium/high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Once boiling, turn the heat off, remove from the burner and let it come to room temperature in the pot. 

The evening before you're going to cook the turkey, prep a small cooler. 
I use this one by cleaning the inside well. Add the cooled brine, 1 gallon or water, and 12 cups ice cubes. 

Unwrap your thawed turkey, remove giblets and neck (save those to MAKE STOCK!), & rinse.

Place turkey, breast end first, into brine. Weigh it down with a plastic container filled with water, heavy lid, etc. Put the lid on the cooler and leave it alone overnight. (Minimum brining time is 8 hours-Max amount is 24 hours)

Before you're going to bake the turkey, remove the turkey from the cooler, rinse it well, and place it onto the the pan/rack you'll be baking on. Then, dry the turkey by patting it with paper towels. Discard the brine. 

Bake at your preference. 

I use this method to bake turkeys- Rub dried turkey with a little oil. Fill cavity with one roughly chopped onion, one quartered apple, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, and 6 smashed cloves garlic. Tie up the legs together with string. Tuck the wings back behind the body (like it's laying with it's arms behiind it's head). Roast turkey in lowest part of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Then, place a triangle of buttered foil over the breast (white meat)- leaving the dark meat exposed. Put a probe thermometer into the breast and return the turkey to the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. When thermometer has reached 130 degrees, remove the tent and check for even browning. If it's not browned nicely over the breasts, leave the tent off. If it's evenly browned, stick it back on until it's finished. Roast until the white meat has reached 161 degrees (about 15 minutes a lb.) Rest, covered with foil or a large metal mixing bowl for 15-30 minutes before carving.