The Meal Planner

I've been so busy this week, I've completely neglected my blog and I apologize. But this recipe you definitely don't want to miss.

Brining a turkey is something I have always wanted to do. My Dad makes the turkey every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas and sticks with his trusty ol' pre-stuffed, cook from frozen Butterball. There's definitely nothing wrong with it, I just always suggest we try something new....but he plans way ahead and it never seems like a good idea to shove his pre-stuffed butterball in a vat of water, salt and herbs. I swear he must buy his turkey's the week after a holiday when they are 50% off and then he always has a supply of those dang Butterballs in his freezer. No matter how early I tell him we need to get a plain turkey this year so we can brine it, his response is "too late...already got my Butterball."

But no Dad this year. And no Butterball. I was cookin' this bad boy all by my lonesome for Thanksgiving and we invited Steve's Granny and Grandpa over to enjoy it. So if I screwed up...his 85 year old British Granny would have no bones about telling me so. My turkey had to be perfect.

And trust me: A perfect turkey you shall find with this recipe.

*Recipe adapted from Alton Brown "Good Eats"
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1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 liters of iced water
5 cloves of crushed garlic
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme

For the aromatics:
1/2 onion, sliced
4 cloves of crushed garlic
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

Canola oil


Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine all the brine ingredients in a clean 5-gallon bucket or cooler. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours (mine was in overnight, so it was more like 12 hours). Turn turkey over once, half way through brining. The amount of salt and sugar make seem like a lot in the brine, but it is absolutely necessary...it will make your turkey so juicy.

A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the garlic and onion and a cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. You want to make sure you do this so no little pockets of salt settle somewhere on the bird. Discard brine.

Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with thyme. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil. Take a very large piece of tinfoil, fold it in half and then form a triangle at one end. Form the triangle over the turkey so that it covers the turkey breast and leaves the legs and wings exposed. Carefully remove your tinfoil turkey triangle making sure not to crush the tinfoil - you want the tinfoil to stay in the same shape so when the turkey is REALLY hot you can place it on the turkey without having to mash it on and touch the blazing hot turkey.

Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with the pre-formed turkey triangle, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. I had only a 9.5 lb turkey and it needed only an hour at 350 degrees to get to 161 degrees. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving to allow all the juices to redistribute. It can rest comfortably for up to an hour and still stay warm if need be.

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THE RESULTS?

Despite it being my first turkey EVER, it was THE MOST FLAVORFUL, and JUICY turkey I have ever eaten. No joke. Alton Brown rocks. I couldn't get enough and kept taking 3rd and 4th helpings of turkey. I don't even usually like white meat because it's always so dang dry, and that is definitely not the case with the white meat of this bird.

Try it, try it....TRY IT!!

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1 Response
  1. Ebonraven Says:

    Wandering through your blog again, 'cause I seriously LOVE your recipes and comments. I found you a couple of weeks ago and have been reading ever since. I've tried several of your recipes so far and they are great.

    I also brine my turkeys, and one year nearly got into an argument with my next door neighbor because he thought the turkey wasn't done, specifically because it was so moist. But it was done and delicious. :D

    Thank you for a great blog, hope to see more!