This recipe is for a brined turkey, which gives delicious, juicy results that everyone will enjoy. To prepare your turkey, you will need a large brining bag, bucket, or ice chest to chill your bird in the brine for 24 hours. It will be worth the effort. A wonderful pan gravy recipe follows.
To brine a 10-12 pound turkey, you will need:
- 2 gallons water
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into eighths
- 1 stalk celery, cut into large pieces
- 1 large carrot, cut into large pieces
For the turkey preparation, you will need:
- 1 stick of butter at room temperature
- 2 sprigs thyme, finely minced
- 4 sage leaves, finely minced
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the basting liquid, you will need:
- Chicken stock or water
- Giblets from turkey
Directions for Turkey
To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a non-reactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, plastic garbage bag.) Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary.
Remove all the giblets from the turkey and rise turkey with cold water. Place the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated for 24 hours.
On Thanksgiving day, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. This is extremly important to remove excess salt. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
Combine butter, thyme and sage. Make a pocket under the skin of the turkey and massage compound better under the skin. Lightly rub the outside of the bird with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string. Roast the turkey uncovered for 1 hour. After an hour, baste the bird. You may need to add basting liquid to the pan as the juices from teh turkey begin to caramelize on the bottom of the roasting pan. Baste every 30-45 minutes or as needed. Half way through cooking time, begin to use the drippings from the pan to baste the bird, rather than the basting liquid.
Continue roasting until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees. Test the temperature in the thigh (avoiding the bone). The bird should take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When the bird is done, remove it from the oven and place it on a platter. Tent the turkey with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Directions for Gravy
After removing the turkey from the roasting pan, skim off excess oil from the liquid. Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat. Add basting liquid and/or chicken stock (approximately 1 cup) to increase gravy volume. Deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer.
Combine 1/4 cup of flour and cold water to form a runny paste (make sure to stir out any lumps). Slowly add the flour and water slurry to the pan, a little at a time. You may or may not use all of the flour mixture. Stir continuously until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Photo from minimalistphotography101 via Flickr