Saturday, November 19, 2005

Let's Talk Turkey

I have a confession, this next recipe is not mine, it's Alton Brown's (the Good Eats guy). It makes the most delicious turkey. It's a brine.

Oh! Brine bringer of juicy turkey
With gladdened hearts we greet you!

My folks are low and slow basters; they consistently make fabulous turkey year after year. Low and slow and lots of basting results in 10 hours to complete a bird. With brining however, cook time is shortened because no basting is required, no heat escapes from the oven.

Alton is a stuffing heretic though, he thinks they are a death trap of food poisoning. I eschew his aromatics and stuff the bird. Here's the link to the original recipe and now mine slightly changed:


1 (14 to 16 pound) young turkey
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
6 sage leaves
4 rosemary sprigs
1 gallon iced water

Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining. Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.


Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with vegetable oil.
Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.

Everyone has thier own stuffing recipe and I wouldn't presume to tell you how to do yours. Ok, maybe next year. The professionals.

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