You can debate all you want to about whether or not brining makes a difference. We brined this bird, and we’ll do it again next year and the year after – delicious, moist, and flavorful! Thanks Alton Brown for the base of the recipe.
1 23 pound turkey $8.95 (seriously)
1.5 cups kosher salt $2.00
3/4 cup brown sugar $0.50
1.5 gallons veg/chicken stock $6.00*
2 tablespoons black peppercorns $0.20
2 teaspoons allspice $0.15
3 teaspoons candied ginger $0.30
1 gallon heavily iced water $free
2 apples $0.80
1 onion $0.30
1 cinnamon stick $0.10
1 cup water $free
4 sprigs rosemary $free (from your herb garden – even when it gets cold!)
10 sage leaves $free (see above)
Peanut oil $0.50
Total Cost $19.80
If you’re getting a bird this big, start thawing it about 4-5 days beforehand. Just take it from your freezer and put in your fridge.
About 24 hours before you plan on cooking the turkey, combine the stock, brown sugar, salt, peppercorns, ginger, and allspice in a big pot. Stir to dissolve the solids and then bring to a boil. Remove from the heat once its started to boil and everything’s come together. Cool this to room temperature and then refrigerate.
Now, combine the brine, water, and ice in a cooler that will fit your turkey. Put the bird in there (with the innards removed) breast-side down. Make sure its fully immersed – we had to keep adding ice for both food safety and immersion purposes. Keep it brining for 18-24 hours and flip it over once about half-way through.
About 4-5 hours before you’re ready to eat, pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse it, and place it on a roasting pan. Pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon, and water in a dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. While this is heating up, sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Add the apple/onion to the turkey cavity along with the fresh herbs. Drizzle the turkey with the oil and then sprinkle the whole exterior with salt and pepper.
Roast the turkey at 500 for 30 minutes, placing the roasting pan on the lowest level of the oven. After 30 minutes, insert a thermometer probe into the deepest part of the breast. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and roast until the temperature reads 161 degrees. Let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes, if not more, before carving. This will give you time to take the pan drippings and make gravy!
Serve with your favorite holiday fixin’s and ENJOY!
*Alton Brown uses vegetable stock. Our pots weren’t big enough, so we made one pot with veggie stock and one with chicken stock, and we thought the chicken stock one smelled best, so maybe next time we’ll only use chicken stock. Both of them mixed together did well, and we imagine that one or the other by itself would also be delicious.
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