Prep 6 hrs
Cook 9 hrs 20 mins
from Alton Brown's show. Brining the bird is the key to moist meat. Made this again this year, only brined in just water instead of stock to save some dough. Again, the bird turned out perfect. Growing up, I hated white meat because it was always dry and grinding on your teeth ;-), now I love white meat. Cook time includes the brining time.
- 1 (16 lb) frozen young turkey
For the brine
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 gallon vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1⁄2 tablespoon allspice berry
- 1⁄2 tablespoon candied ginger
- 1 gallon ice 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
- Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stock pot and bring to a boil.
- Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
- Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5 gallon bucket.
- Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours.
- Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.
- A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees.
- Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
- Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water.
- Discard brine.
- Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels.
- Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage.
- Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil.
- Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500F for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350°F.
- Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161°F.
- A 14-16 pound bird should require a total of 2-2 1/2 hours of roasting.
- Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.
Cooked up my last turkey this way--used everything exactly per recipe except didn't have allspice berries. The meat was tender and moist and not the slightest bit salty. A(lton showed the science behind why the salt isn't absorbed into the meat, but I don't remember the specifics.) I'm a brining convert!
Although I use a different brine, there is no question that I will not ever roast a turkey without brining. Those who haven't tried it owe it to yourself to give it a shot. You will not be able to go back.
Great recipe!!! I'll never be able to go back to an unbrined turkey.