Tuesday, November 23, 2010

(Adapted from Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey recipe)


1 (14 to 16 pound) Free-Range Organic Young Turkey (reserve giblets for gravy)

1 (5 Gallon) Brining Bag

The Brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon chopped candied ginger
1 gallon iced water

The Aromatics:
2 Clementines (you may substitute Tangerines), 1 Quartered; 1 Sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
2 T Butter – softened and combined with a ½ t. each, finely chopped, lemon-thyme, sage and rosemary

The Glaze:
½ Cup freshly squeezed Clementine juice (approx. 4 clementines)
1 small cinnamon stick
1 T sugar
1 t corn starch
½ t salt
½ t white pepper

The Brine:
Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Approx. 27-hours* prior to cooking time place thawed turkey breast side down into a large brining bag. Combine the brine with the ice water and pour over the turkey.

Tip: For a 6pm Thanksgiving dinner, 3pm Wednesday is perfect.

Close up the bag and store in a cool place such as your refrigerator or a large cooler*.

Tip: I generally store the turkey in a large cooler on my back porch w/ a couple ice packs.
However if there is room in your fridge that is ideal.

You will want to flip the turkey in the brine once, I usually do this first thing upon rising Thanksgiving morning, after making the coffee of course.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Combine the quartered clementine, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes (If you do not have a microwave you can you can combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer on med-high for 10 mins, just enough to bring out the flavors).

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.

Seasoning the Bird:
Place bird, breast side up, 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 the 1.5 T of the herbed butter.

Gently loosen the skin around the neck/ breast area to separate it from the meat. Once loosened gently rub remaining herbed butter directly on the meat under the skin, then insert the sliced clementine between the skin and the meat.

Cooking the Bird, step 1:
Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. While the Turkey is roasting prepare the glaze.

The Glaze:
In a small sauce pan combine clementine juice, sugar and cinnamon stick, heat on med-low until it begins to simmer. Whisk in the salt, pepper and corn starch and stir until just thickened, should just barely coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Cooking the Bird, step 2.:
After 30 mins. remove the turkey from oven and baste with the Clementine glaze. 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 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.

After 90 mins. open the oven and baste* the bird again with pan drippings and glaze that have collected at the bottom of the roasting pan. And again after another 30 mins.

*I am well aware of how Alton Brown feels about opening the the oven to baste, I still choose to do so...

Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.

Don't forget to save those pan dripping for your gravy, mmmmm

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