Brined and Roasted Turkey

We were given a Turkey around thanksgiving time and I wanted to try a brine and cooking method I got from a few different sources. I'll give credit to a couple of different places for the recipes, but I sometimes take the best of a recipe and add my touch to it.

Ok, lets begin with the brine. Here is the recipe I got from one of my favorite bloggers, Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. You can view her site here and the recipe for the brine here. I changed it up some by using only two oranges with peel,  ground pepper instead of peppercorns, dried rosemary, and jarred minced garlic.

  3 cups Apple Juice or Apple Cider
  2 gallons Cold Water
  4 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Leaves
  5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  1-1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  2 cups Brown Sugar
  3 Tablespoons Peppercorns
  5 whole Bay Leaves
  Peel Of Three Large Oranges

With the brine, I added all ingredients except about 2 quarts of the water in a 21 qt canning container. I brought the mixture to a boil and turned the heat off, stirring a few times. I then added the remaining 2 quarts of water MIXED with ice to cool the brine off quicker. I let set until it was cooled off. You do NOT want the mixture to be hot when  you put the turkey in, because you may cause the turkey to start cooking. Big NO-NO.

Take your thawed turkey out of the bag and rinse with cold water. Remove any guts, necks, and giblets from the bird. You can make a good broth with those parts.  After turkey has been rinsed place into the cooled off pan of brine and put lid on. Place in fridge. I  did brine my turkey for about 18 hours. 24 hours will work well too.
After turkey has been in brine for 18 to 24 hours, remove turkey from solution and discard the liquid. At this point the turkey will need to get two baths. First, rinse off any excess spices from the brine. Be sure to clean out the cavity of the bird as well. In a large pot, fill with about two gallons of cool water. Place the bird in the cool water and let it bathe for about 10-15 minutes. Take the turkey out of the water in place in Pyrex cooking dish or a roasting tray. Grab a bunch of paper towels and pat that turkey dry. Really dry.  Take a liberal amount of salt and pepper and season the cavity of the bird along with the entire top of the turkey.  Tuck wings under the turkey. The last step before placing in the oven is to take some twine and tie the legs together to make the cooking of the turkey more even. Yes, I know I didn't do the best job on mine but I think it will be ok. Place in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes per pound.

About halfway through the cooking process, take some butter(I used one stick), mixed with about 2 Tbsp of minced garlic, and rub generously on the turkey skin.

Place back in oven and cook for remaining time for turkey to be done. Two ways I tested my turkey for doneness: the popper popped out, and I used a digital thermometer in breast and thigh.  The internal temp should be at least 165 degrees. 

Let turkey rest at least 20 minutes before carving for just to regulate inside the bird and for you not to burn your hands off when trying to slice it. It took this turkey about three hours and 15 minutes to cook.

And that's it! We ate it tonight and it was one of the most moist, flavorful turkeys I have ever eaten. The skin was nice and crisp. I could almost eat a sandwich of just skin.

TIP: You can make a wonderful gravy with the drippings. Also save your bones! I'll have our crock-pot turkey broth recipe coming soon.

I also want to give credit to for cooking methods for turkeys.