Monday, November 22, 2010

Brining the Bird

I'm sure that by now, most of you have tried brining your turkey - but if you haven't - you MUST try it!   It makes the meat so juicy.  I usually am a dark meat lover, because I don't like the dry white breast meat, but brining makes the whole turkey juicy and delicious!  We have been brining for the last 10 years or so, and really like Alton Brown's recipe from the Food Network.  The Food Network Magazine says that this recipe has been the most popular Thanksgiving recipe on for the past 6 years and has garnered more comments than any other recipe on the site!  I highly recommend it.  The spices are a little expensive, but I have used the same bottles for years - it doesn't take a lot.  I was also able to find the vegetable broth for $.39 a can.  Yahoo! 

I put my frozen turkey in the refrigerator today (Saturday morning) so that it will be thawed by Thanksgiving. 

This is how I fit the bucket with the turkey/brine mixture in the fridge.  I am able to take out one of the shelves and it works.  You can also put it into a cooler if you don't have room in your fridge.

I am including the entire Good Eats Roast Turkey Recipe from the Food Network.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Good Eats Roast Turkey

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, also featured in Food Network Magazine

Prep Time:

15 min

Inactive Prep Time:

7 hr 0 min

Cook Time:

2 hr 30 min




10 to 12 servings


• 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

• 1 cup kosher salt

• 1/2 cup light brown sugar

• 1 gallon vegetable stock (9 cans)

• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

• 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries

• 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger

• 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

• 1 red apple, sliced

• 1/2 onion, sliced

• 1 cinnamon stick (I leave this one out- I can’t do cinnamon!)

• 1 cup water

• 4 sprigs rosemary

• 6 leaves sage

• Canola oil


Click here to see how it's done.

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. (I have been reading on the Internet and I have found that this is supposed to be taken in the thigh – not touching a bone to 165 degrees, so follow this at your own risk.-Judy ) A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

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