Emeril's Brined and Roasted Turkey

"I first made this turkey for Thanksgiving in 2001. It was the best turkey I had ever had, and I have never been tempted to use another recipe since. It is worth the extra work involved. **Note** Prep and cook time do not include brining time."
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  • Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.
  • 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.
  • Note: If you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.
  • Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. Place breast side down in a large, heavy roasting pan, and rub on all sides with the butter. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and thyme. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.
  • For the turkey broth: Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan and saute until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour the stock and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about 1 hour, adding the chopped liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Pull the meat off the neck, chop the neck meat and giblets, and set aside.
  • Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  • For the pan gravy: Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass-measuring cup and skim off the fat. Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat add the pan juice and 1 cup turkey broth and the white wine to the pan, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cup of broth and bring to a simmer, then transfer to a measuring cup.
  • In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Add the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved neck meat and giblets to the pan and adjust seasoning, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.

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  1. I found this recipe years ago and it is all I ever use now. I always cut back on the salt because it just doesn't need it. If you are worried about too much salt, cut it back. I keep the rest of it the same. You can sub with a salt sub when cooking if you wish. I just use lots of flavorful veggies and fresh herbs. Works great. I love the color of the meat after cooking. I even cooked it in my Traeger grill last year. It was amazing. I will be using it on this year's turkey, too.
  2. I've made this recipe in the past, and I've been searching the Internet everywhere for it. This was the first turkey brine recipe I've ever used and it turned out so well, I don't want to try another recipe!
  3. This is one of maybe 3 turkeys I have made in my life. It turned out OK, but I expected phenomenal since it was a lot of work & an Emeril. In defense of the recipe, the bird was ready about 3:00 & we took it to someone elses home for Thanksgiving dinner & by the time we ate around 6:00 it was a bit dry. Based on the sodium content, I will keep looking for the perfect bird recipe that even I can make taste great!


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