Turkey - Our Favorite Method of Cooking at Thanksgiving or any time.
Turkey and new traditions
My favorite way to have turkey prepared
Several years ago, we moved to the Midwest USA, and had no family or any friends. It was summertime, and as the school year started and the fall hit, we began thinking about Thanksgiving. We knew it would be a very small Thanksgiving holiday together, which is fine and has its own good points. Still, we decided to act on what was initially a very silly though, or so we thought. We decided, that since we couldn't go be with family, why not invite all the family to come to us. Whoever could come and wanted to, could just join US for Thanksgiving. Well, what happened was exciting. We had a huge turnout, and realized we needed to come up with a very good Turkey for Thanksgiving, among other things. Thus the following story came into being. Our favorite way to make the best, juicy Thanksgiving turkey that any of us have ever had.
After doing some researching we came up with a new plan for our Thanksgiving turkey, one we had never done before, not even close. First things first, you need to make sure your turkey gets thawed. Many people underestimate the time it takes to actually do this, and feel stuck on Thanksgiving Day. So do that first, then we move on to the fun part!
Details for making brine
1. Have a large vessel, or container that is plenty big enoug to hold both your turkey and a lot of brine that it will soak in. We use a big, clean, rubbermaid storage container for this. The kitchen sink just won't come close to being enough room. Plus you need that for other things anyway. Remove the innards from the turkey before you do anything else.
2. Make the concentrate for your brine. You will need vegetable stock, tons of salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, a few allspice berries, and garlic powder. Bring this concentrate to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse all the flavors. They will meld together nicely. When done, don't just add this to your turkey in its container, as it will partially cook a portion that it first touches. You don't want that. Put some ice cold water, and ice in with the turkey, then carefully add the brine concentrate. This will become the brine that will make your tukey very tasty and super moist.
3. The next morning, take the turkey out of the brine, and pat it dry. Dry it very well. It has taken on a lot of moisture and flavor overnight from the brine. Now, stuff your turkey with some aromatics, like a quartered onion, wedges of apple and orange, and sprigs of fresh rosemary. Put whole twigs of rosemary in there if you like.
4. Coat the outside of your turkey with vegetable oil.
5. Before putting on the rack that will go in the oven, season the bottom side of the turkey first with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and sage. Place on the rack , then season the top.
6. You will need a special thermometer where you see temperature on the outside of the oven, but it has a cord going to the thermometer that is inside the turkey. Make sure you put it in the deepest, most inner place of the turkey muscle. Stick the turkey in a 500 degree preheated oven, only for 30 minutes. This gets the turkey nice and browned on the outside.
7. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and cover the breast part of the bird with foil so it doesn't overcook. If it overcooks, it gets tough and gets too dark.
8. You want to cook your turkey until it hits the 165-168 degrees. DON'T set the timer to go off at the highest degree for your bird, because by then the turkey will just keep cooking and go beyond your maximum. This creates a drier turkey. Double check the ultimate temperature you want it to go to, then subtract off 3-5 minutes, and set it for that time.
9. Take out turkey and cover with foil. Despite how hungry all your troops are by this time, resist the urge to start cutting the turkey. Wait, for a full 30 minutes. If you do not, and you cut into it, the very hot turkey juices and flavor will come spurting out, and leak out of the turkey meat. Another reason for dry turkey. If you let it sit there, the juices get a chance to calm down, and stay in the meat, just where you want them for when you eat.
Every year, we have done this since. Its my favorite way to prepare this ingredient, and chicken as well. My brother in law said to my husband, "If anything happens to my marriage, can I still come and have Thanksgiving with you guys?" He was complimenting the turkey, and was totally joking, but we got the point. A plump chicken will cook up just as nice as turkey. Try this at least once if you never have. You may not regret it. Now my husband likes to host Thanksgiving, because he worries he won't get to have turkey prepared with brine. Now we are all spoiled for sure.