Alton Brown's Thanksgiving Turkey

We decided to try Alton Brown's Thanksgiving Turkey recipe, and I must say, this must be the most labor-intensive turkey preparation ever! But then again, nothing that tastes this good can really be rushed - especially if it concerns a humonguous bird!

What you need:

  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the Brine:
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 tsp allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 tsp 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
  • Canola oil

What to do:

Combine all the brine ingredients (except the iced water) in a large pot. Set over medium-high heat, and stir occasionally to dissolve solids. Bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from heat, cool to room te
mperature, and refrigerate.

On the night before you would eat the turkey, y
ou should start the brining process. Combine the refrigerated brine and iced water in a 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (giblets removed) breast-side down in brine. Make sure it is fully immersed, cover and set in a 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 the brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Place the bird on a roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, a
nd a cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir around a bit, and put everything in the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage.

Get a large aluminum foil (large enough to cover the back of the bird) and shape it in the form of a triangle. Wipe it down with some canola oil. Do the same w
ith the skin of the turkey. Fit the triangle on the back of the bird and gently press it down to mold it to the shape of the turkey. The triangle foil will serve as a "tent" for the bird later so the skin won't burn.

Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast. Roast the turkey on the lowest rack of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F afterwards. At this point, put the triangle foil on top of the bird to prevent it from browning too quickly. Keep an eye on the thermometer as you want it to reach the perfect temperature of 161 degrees F. It should take around 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. But since different ovens have different settings, I suggest you trust your thermometer instead.

When the desired turkey temperature is reached, let it rest for around 15 minutes before carving. Delish!!!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:
1. Can't find candied ginger on the supermarket aisle? Make it from scratch! Click here for the recipe!
2. Use ground cinnamon if you don't have cinnamon sticks. Or try it with anise seeds instead.

3. It is best to brine the turkey in a 5-gallon ice chest similar to an Igloo cooler. You can also brine it in a stockpot, but remember to put a towel under it as it will sweat.
4. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling poultry!
5. To thaw a frozen turkey, leave it under cold running water for... oh, a couple of hours! If it seems to be wasteful, just put it in cold water. But make sure that the turkey is fully submerged! Change the cold water every 30 minutes. Using this method, it will take approximately 30 minu
tes per pound to thaw the turkey.
6. Fit the triangle foil on the back of the bird - then insert the probe thermometer. That way you won't damage the foil, or mess up the shape.
7. For gravy - just put the pan drippings in a fat separator. Put the grease back in a pan and add flour (about 1 1/2 tbsp). Whisk, then add the drippings and some chicken stock. It is delicious - you can actu
ally taste the apple and cinnamon from the turkey aromatics!

That's one gorgeous bird!


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