Roast turkey, the king of the table on Thanksgiving and the Holidays, can often be overcooked, dry and down right unpalatable. How many times have you been served a piece of flavorless, stringy, blah roast turkey? You know the kind you have to drown in gravy so it is easy to swallow? Unfortunately, probably more times than you want to admit.
Cooking a turkey can seem like a hard job. It is so big and intimidating! However, to roast a turkey is really not all that difficult. You simply need to plan ahead and follow some basic rules and you will be pleasantly surprised at your wonderful creation.
This turkey was treated in a salt and herd dry brine before I cooked it. This is a long process but absolutely worth it as you will end up with ultra moist and super flavorful meat. I encourage you to give this a try.
Here is what you need to do for this:
Serves between 15 to 18 people
1 – 14 pound turkey – thawed
7 teaspoons of table salt or 10.5 teaspoons of coarse salt
1 TBS garlic powder
4 sprigs Rosemary – leaves removed
4 long strips orange peels without the white part
2 leafy top parts of 2 celery stalks
1 sprig of sage
2 sprigs of Thyme
2 sprigs of Rosemary
4 garlic cloves
½ orange –quartered
½ apple – seeded and quartered
½ of a white or brown small onion
1 cup unsalted butter – melted and cooled down
FOR THE BRINE:
Place the salt, garlic powder, Rosemary leaves and orange peel in a coffee grinder and pulverize it.
Remove the giblets and neck form the turkey. Keep them refrigerated if you are going to be making gravy. Rinse the thawed turkey and place it on a tray. Pat dry it thoroughly – don’t forget under the wings and in the thigh area – and start rubbing it with the salt mixture.
Concentrate on the breast and thigh area by adding some extra brine. Rub the whole turkey with the salt – including the cavity. Place the rubbed turkey in a clean garbage bag and seal it well. Place it on a tray and put it in the fridge.
On day two, take out the turkey and rub it over the bag – do not take it out of the bag. Return it to the fridge.
On day three, repeat the rubbing of the turkey and leave it breast side down. Place it back on the fridge.
The night of day three, remove the turkey from the bag and discard any liquid that might have been rendered. Dry it very well using paper towels. Place it in the cleaned tray and put it back into the fridge, uncovered, overnight. The fans in the refrigerator will dry up the skin so that is crisp when you cook it.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and pat dry any moisture that it might have. Place it on a rack in a roasting pan and allow it to sit for about one hour until it reaches room temperature. You do not want to cook it straight out of the fridge as it will be too cold.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).
Place the celery leaves, sage, Rosemary sprigs, thyme, garlic cloves, orange, apple and onion inside the cavity of the turkey and tie the legs together.
Brush the turkey liberally with the melted butter, making sure to get under the wings and between the thigh. Flip it over and brush the back side. Leave it on the breast and place it in the oven for 45 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven and flip over the turkey – I used a couple of clean dish rags – be very careful not to burn yourself, and baste the turkey with the liquid in the pan. You can use a spoon if you do not have a baster. Make sure to close the oven door immediately after every time you remove the pan from the oven in order to keep the heat in.
Reduce the oven to 325 degrees F (160 C) and return the pan to the oven. Roast for another 45 minutes. Remove it and brush the turkey with more melted butter. Do not worry about the bottom side. Place the pan back in the oven for another 45 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and baste the turkey with the pan juices one more time. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil and return the turkey to the oven for an extra 30 minutes.
Remove the pan one more time and insert a meat thermometer in the thigh area, close to the bone. You need the thermometer to register 170 degrees F (the breast should be at 160 F). The turkey will sit after we are done and will continue cooking through. You should be close to desired temperature by now.
Brush the turkey with melted butter one more time and return it to the oven, uncovered, for another 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and retest the temperature. If you are at the 170 degrees at the thigh cover the pan with aluminum foil. Turn off the heat in the oven and place the covered turkey back in leaving the door open. Let the turkey rest for about 20 minutes before you carve it. You want to allow the juices to settle before serving it. Enjoy with your favorite sides.
CALORIES 310.70; FAT 17.56 grs (sat 7.13; mono 1.32; poly 0.19); PROTEIN 32.76 grs ; FIBER 0.04 grs; CARBS 0.22 grs; CHOLESTEROL 122.45 mg; IRON 2.26 mg; SODIUM 841.92 mg; CALCIUM 2.43 mg
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