Alton Brown’s Recipe (no stuffing inside bird. no basting.)
1 (14 to 16 pound) young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
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
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
(2012: bought foster farm turkey from slater bros.)
(2013: bought foster farm turkey from slater bros., 17.5 lbs, this year the bird reached 161 degrees after 1 hour which was scary. the temperature dropped to 155 by moving the thermometer our 1 inch but still reached 161 in under 2 hours – a little too scary for us so we kept the turkey in for 2 hours and it was on the dry side.)
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 container. 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.
At this point make the foil “hat” by taking a piece of foil, making a triangle from the square piece, fold at the edges for strength, coat with canola oil and shape it over the turkey breast, remove but preserve the shape – hat – for easy placing on the turkey when it’s called for.
Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast. (Don’t push it in so far that it comes out near the surface as I did in 2013 causing the 161 temp to occur in 1 hour! I pulled the probe out about 1 inch and the temp dropped to 156) Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and place foil “hat” on the breast. Set the thermometer alarm to 161 degrees F. 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.
videos Roast Turkey
Deglaze the bottom of the roasting pan over 1-2 burners with 1 cup red wine and 3 cups of reduced chicken broth. Pour liquid into fat separator and separate out the fat. Put fat back into hot pan and stir in 1/3 cup flour. Whisk over heat. Add remaining reserve and whisk. Add thyme, rosemary, oregano, sauteed mushrooms, (1/2) liver and onion.
video Gravy Video
Add chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, chopped celery, sauteed onion and mushroom to stuffing mix and bake as directed.