My roast turkey brings all the boys to the yard and they're like it's better than yours! You're damn right it's better than yours! I could teach you, but I'd have to charge! Okay so maybe I won't charge but I will teach you or should I say show you.
So this is the first turkey I have ever made and if I do say so myself it turned out quite AWESOME! It was golden brown, juicy, and flavorful. Pretty much everything a roast turkey should be. So I was a little scared of making a turkey but since I was hosting Friends Thanksgiving I couldn't very well ask someone else to bring the turkey so I elicited the help of my Domestic Superhero Aunt Trish. And she recommended I brine the turkey. Apparently anybody who's anybody is brining their turkey.
Here is the recipe I used. It's from Alton Brown on the food network and it was very, very good. As always I can never follow a recipe to the "T" so my changes are in parenthesis.
Good Eats Roast Turkey
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown
1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey (I made a smaller 12-13 pnd turkey)
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt (I used regular table salt)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock (Used chicken stock because the store was out of veggie)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger (Used ground ginger about 1/8th of a tspn, next time I'll use more)
1 gallon iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil (Softened 1 stick of unsalted butter instead)
Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) (I used my cooler. I did a layer of ice in the cooler then double bagged the turkey in Turkey size oven bags breast down. Placed it in the cooler over the ice. Then poured in the brine and the ice water into the bag. Then I weighted down the turkey using a small plastic cutting board and tied the bag. This kep the tukey submerged. Place some more ice around the turkey). combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.
A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 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. Discard brine.
Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage.
Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil. (I just massaged the turkey with the softened butter, I must have used up a little over 1/2 of the stick of butter)
Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, 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. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.
Chica Tip: Sorry I couldn't help myself, Ryan & I watch "Simply Delicioso" on Food Network and can't help making fun of Ingrid Hoffman's lameness. But I digress, back to my tip. I almost hate giving this tip away but I will. If you find yourself having to buy a lot of spices like here for the brine you will end up spending a small fortune in spices and this might deter you from making this recipe so... Instead of going to the spice aisle, ignore it all together and go straight to the Mexican or the Ethnic aisle of your grocery store. There in the Mexican section of the aisle you will find the spices you need in little plastic bags for the embarassing price of $0.79 to $0.99!!!! That's right for about 1/4 of the price of fancy schmancy McCormicks in the fancy schmancy bottles.