Long time no “see!”
I’m back this week with what I hope will help if you are responsible for the turkey this year and don’t have a go-to recipe. I have used the same technique for years, and I am now appointed as the official family turkey cooker.
My family raves about it all year long and it makes me super happy to provide it for them!
The recipe for the turkey is based on the recipe by Alton Brown of the Food Network. You can find the exact recipe here .
His style of cooking is the exact opposite of mine in that he is very precise in measurements and I am an “eyeball” it kind of girl. This is why I am WAY better at cooking than I am at baking. All those rules…DON’T TELL ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE.
So my recipe is based loosely on his BUT the most important part…DO NOT skip this…is the brine.
The brine packs in flavor and moisture other methods just don’t. That’s the secret, my dear. Brine that baby! Just a side note, I have also brined chicken for dinner using this recipe and it was unbelievable.
On to the recipe!
This works best with a 14-16lb fresh turkey. If you need more than that, go with two smaller turkeys instead of one big turkey. You’ll get more meat with less cook time and less chance of a dry or burnt turkey 🙂
At 2-3 days before, start with a thawed and cleaned out turkey. Place to the side.
For the brine you will need vegetable stock, kosher salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger (I have subbed with both regular fresh ginger and ginger powder- all work fine here).
Bring those brine ingredients to a boil in large stockpot stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature.
Now the original recipe says to refrigerate and soak the turkey either the night before or day of. I am all about making the day of as easy as possible, and the night before I’m usually cleaning because I host Thanksgiving for my family. I put the bird (or two smaller birds) in the brine as soon as it cools down. So my turkey brines for 2-3 days.
To do this you need a 5 gallon bucket, and to make it super easy I line the bucket with a space saver bag. It’s durable and zips at the top so I don’t have to worry much about it spilling. In the bucket I place the bird, breast side down, pour the brine over it and fill it the rest of the way with ice water. Refrigerate until ready to roast. Yes, you will need to make some space in your fridge to accommodate, but look at it as a sure fire way to have enough room for leftovers 🙂
The day of, preheat your oven to 500F. I know this is super hot, but it makes the skin really nice and crispy golden brown so make sure your oven is clean so the whole house doesn’t smoke up!
Take the turkey out of the brine and place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. I like to make slits on the breast and legs and add pats of butter because it’s Thanksgiving and I am thankful for butter.
I like to add aromatics in the cavity as well. Add what you like here. I like to add lemon and herbs sometimes, or cinnamon sticks, apples, and onion is also a great combo as recommended by the original recipe.
Coat the top of the bird with canola oil and stick in the oven for 30 mins at 500.
At this point lower the temp to 350F. I also like to cover the legs and wings with tin foil so they don’t burn. A 14-16lb bird takes about 2-2 1/2 hours. I like to start at two hours and check with a thermometer to see if the thickest part of the breast is at 165F. I also make a slit and take a peak to ensure the juices run clear.
Once done, I remove and let the turkey sit for about 15-30 mins while shooshing my husband away from picking at it ahead of time.
And that’s it friends! You have just made the most lovely bird ever!
- 14-16lb turkey
- 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
- 1 lemon cut in half
- 6 sage leaves
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 4-6 pats of butter
- canola oil
- 1 apple sliced
- 1/2 onion sliced
- 1 cinammon stick
- 4 rosemary sprigs
- 6 sage leaves
- 4-6 pats of butter
- canola oil
Begin 2-3 days ahead with a fully thawed and cleaned turkey. Mix all brine ingredients and bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. In a 5 gallon bucket, line with a plastic space saver bag and add turkey breast side down. Pour brine over top and add ice water. Refrigerate until time to roast.
Remove turkey from bucket and place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Cut slits along breast and legs and insert pats of butter under the skin. Insert aromatics of choice into turkey cavity and coat skin with canola oil.
Place turkey in the oven on the lowest rack and roast for 30 mins.
Reduce heat to 350F and cover wings and legs with foil to prevent burning. Roast for 2-2 1/2 hours or until thickest part of breast reaches 165F and juices run clear. Let sit 15 minutes before carving and keep drippings to make homemade gravy. Enjoy!
I hope you find this post helpful and I’d love to hear your favorite Thanksgiving Day recipes- leave them in the comments below 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by. Wishing you a blessed, loving, gratitude filled Thanksgiving, sweet friends.