We've been working on getting the turkey down for a few years now. the first year we had a major brining accident that called for serious duck tape. luckily, with a better brining bag and a brine mixture that does not have big peppercorns which can pop the bag, we have not had a repeat. In years past we used two big oven bags instead of a brining bag thinking they were much more expensive. This year we used a brining bag, and it was more than worth it. It is bigger, stronger, has a flat bottom and a ziplock top. All this, it turns out, for an extra dollar.
The family does seem to enjoy our bird and we add a few extra legs in the oven for the die-hards who try and call a leg like calling shotgun. . .here is a peek and how we go about it:
So here it goes:
1- brine the turkey the night before- we've been using a brine mixture bought straight from freshdirect (its just a mixture of spices that you add water to- you can definitely make your own). (1) put the turkey (and extra legs) in the brining bag (2) boil water and add the brine mixture so the salt and sugar dissolve (3) add cold water (4) pour the mixture into the brine bag (5) let sit in fridge overnight. (btw- if you work and host thanksgiving, freshdirect rocks for thanksgiving- we order almost all the food, including the turkey, and have it delivered the tuesday or wednesday night!)
2-thanksgiving morning flip the bird in the bag to make sure its more evenly brined.
3- when you are ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 500 degrees, take the bird out of the bag, wash it off with cold water (inside and out to get all the brining solution off of it) and pat dry. Don't forget to remove the bag of giblets from the turkey.
4- quarter a few oranges and onions and place in the cavity.
5- rub the bird with canola oil.
6- place on rack in roasting pan.
7- add cut up potatoes and carrots to the bottom of the pan and appx 1-2 inches of chicken stock . . . we also wrap the neck in tin foil and put it in the bottom of the pan (the mom's like the neck. . kind of gross if you ask me). the stock helps keep the turkey moist and gives the veggies a great flavor when it mixes with the turkey drippings.
8- roast at 500 degrees for 30 minutes, take out and cover the breast with two layers of tin foil, insert a probe thermometer if you have one, into the thickest part of the breast and reduce the temperature to 350 for the remainder of the cooking time and roast until the temp reaches 161 degrees. We had a 15 pounder and it took around 2 1/3 hours to roast. . .
9- let rest for 30 minutes before carving. this allows the juices to redistribute, and makes for easier carving b/c the turkey is not quite as hot. it also provides time to warm up your sides.
Ok- that's how we do it. Send us your turkey tips for next year. . . and hope you all had a very happy thanksgiving.