I have never, ever made a turkey. I have never eaten a brined turkey but I know about all the hype. So I thought for my first turkey, I would go all out and hope for the best. And it turns out it was pretty simple. The hardest thing was rinsing the turkey and getting all the inards out. I absolutely hate touching raw meat so I may have been a little prissy about the whole process. I’m glad the family was downstairs watching a football game so that they didn’t have to witness my ridiculousness. I may have let out a squeal-y “ewwww” as I stuck my hand in the darned bird.
But oh man was it worth the 30 seconds of disgust. I don’t mean to brag but this was probably the juiciest and tastiest roasted turkey I have ever had. Brining really does make all the difference. Any turkey cooked in my home will always be brined…no question.
This turkey seemed like a lot of work…more work than I had time for so I skipped the homemade turkey stock and simply basted the turkey with chicken stock. I also just made a simple pan gravy with the drippings and a cornstarch slurry. If you want to be a total allstar, you can click the source below to get the details.
Brined and Roasted Turkey
recipe from Emeril Lagasse
1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey
Brine, recipe follows
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large yellow onion, cut into 8ths
1 large orange, cut into 8ths
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting
1. Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water. Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. Place breast side down in a large, heavy roasting pan, and rub on all sides with the butter. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and thyme. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.
3. Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.
4. Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 oranges, quartered
2 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a non-reactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, plastic garbage bag.) Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary.
Note: if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.