This year is the first time I ventured into making a Thanksgiving Turkey. Thanksgiving coincided with my son’s 8th birthday this year and we decided to celebrate both together with a grand feast and round it up with a birthday cake. For the turkey recipe I decided to follow Alton Brown’s as I love AB and all his recipes are perfect if followed to the T.
We got a 12 pound butterball turkey. Begin to thaw the turkey at least 3 days before the day of cooking. I moved it down to the refrigerator from the freezer section. It is a little long process to prep the turkey but it was worth the effort as in the end we got perfectly moist and juicy turkey
Here are the instructions to make AB’s thanksgiving turkey with some modifications
1 gallon of chicken stock
1 cup of salt
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of black pepper
Combine all brine ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and cool down the liquid. Once cooled, take a large cooler and combine 5 gallons of ice cold water and brine liquid. Insert the turkey (innards cleaned) breast side down. Leave the turkey in the brine for 8-16 hours. Do not leave it more than 24 hours as it will get salty. Store the cooler in a cool area till day of cooking
1 cup of water
Combine these in a microwave safe dish and microwave it for 6 minutes on high. While that happens, take the turkey out of the brine and wash it inside and out. Pat dry the turkey and place it on the roasting pan. Put the apple onion mixture in the cavity of the turkey immediately. Rub the outside of turkey liberally with Canola oil. I also rubbed with black pepper, thyme and oregano. That’s it. Preheat your oven to 500 F and place the turkey in for 30 minutes. Then turn down the temperature to 325 F and roast for another 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The turkey is done when the temperature of the breast registers 165 F.
Take the turkey out once done and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. This is to let the juices get absorbed into the meat. You can tent the turkey with foil till ready to eat. Use the pan drippings in the roast pan to make delicious gravy.
Let the pan drippings sit for a while so that the fat separates. If you have a fat separator, you can easily drain the fat out, or else try to separate the fat out by gently tilting the pan to let the fat flow out. Use 2 tablespoon of the fat in a saucepan and heat it up. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and stir it together to make roux. Cook the flour gently till it is cooked through. Add the gravy back to the saucepan and some chicken stock and wine to make it liquid consistency. Turn the heat to medium and gently boil the gravy for 5-10 minutes. The gravy will turn thick when off the heat. Enjoy with your turkey!