Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Brine and Roast the PERFECT Thanksgiving Turkey!

Want to know the trick to making the best turkey EVER?
First, take a closer look at this lovely picture taken on my cell phone. Do you see how the legs are just falling off? How the meat is literally falling off the bone? I went to pull the turkey out of roasting pan, and all the meat started falling off the bone. In fact, it all fell off the bone by the time we were ready to carve it.
There is no roasting bag here.
There was no basting.
I didn't put anything in the pan. Just the turkey.
The trick?
You can pay $20 for a fancy brine at the store. You can read a thousand recipes online right now for different brines.
I fed this AMAZING turkey to 18 adults and it was a HUGE hit. Everyone loved it!
It was by far the easiest turkey I have ever made.
And here's how you do it-
take 1 cup of salt, and dissolve it in 1 gallon of boiling water.
Do this for as many gallons of water as it takes to completely cover and submerge your thawed turkey (giblets and inside thingies removed).
There are a dozen different ways you can come up with to submerge your turkey. I have 2 standby methods for this. The easiest one is take the roasting pan (as seen in the picture above), and put a plastic garbage bag in it. Put the thawed turkey in it. Pour the cooled saltwater in the bag over the turkey. It is handy to have a third or fourth hand when trying to figure out how to hold the bag up while pouring water in it. All that really matters is that you completely cover the turkey. (For this 21 lbs turkey in the rather compact pan, it took 4 gallons of water.)
The second method I like is to take the bottom crisper drawer out of the refrigerator. Wash it out thoroughly, and put the turkey (nekkid) into the drawer. Pour the (cooled) water into the drawer. (Make sure the drawer isn't cracked first.) Warning: when pulling the turkey out of the drawer later, it can get rather slippery, and humorous as you attempt to wrestle it.
Soak the turkey in the saltwater brine at least 24 hours.
Take it out of the brine plop it in the pan. Rub the skin with a stick of butter if you are so inclined. Cover, cook.
Cook it the appropriate amount of time. Don't be surprised if you have to cook it as much as an hour longer. Sometimes they are just so dang juicy that they take a little longer to cook thoroughly.

note- I didn't put any extra anythings in the pan. No roasting bag. No basting. No veggies. Nothing. Just a bird in a pan.

Now look back at that picture a little closer. Do you see how the turkey is practically swimming in juices? Seriously, when was the last time you saw a turkey in a roasting bag swimming in juices? Ever?

Don't miss this recipe for some AMAZING homemade stuffing!
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