My Turkey Recipe

ext1jdh

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I figure that since Thanksgiving has passed, I can safely hand out my turkey recipe without fear of being usurped.

First I thaw and brine the turkey
*I get a brine mix
or I make my own using 1 gallon of water and a carton of chicken broth, 1 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of sugar. You can use 1/2 a can of beer or wine too, which is nice.
Heat up the water/broth and dissolve the brine mix into it. This can take a long time, since it takes forever to heat up that much water.
*Brining the turkey takes at least 24 hours, but sometimes I leave it in there for two days. You want to make sure the brine mix is cool before putting the bird in it, otherwise it'll cook the turkey and get nasty. You can get poultry bags from grocery stores or Bed Bath & Beyond around the Holidays. They're like Ziploc bags that are big enough to hold an entire turkey. Put the bird in, then pour the brine over top of it. Make sure it gets inside the bird too. The bird will tend to float, so you may want to stick something heavy on it. Make sure the bird is covered the whole time it's in the brine.
*Some people say you should thaw the bird first. I've never had any problems brining the turkey while it's frozen. Anyway, it'll thaw faster in the brine.
*When you're done brining, pour out the brine from the bag and the bird. Easier said than done. Pat the bird dry with paper towels.

Preparing
*I use a roasting pan and rack, you don't have to, but it may get soggy if you don't use a rack.
*In the roasting pan, cut up some carrots, onions, and celery. They don't have to be very small, but its your choice. Save some to put inside the bird too. You want the pan to be covered with the veggies. Throw in a whole stick of butter and water enough to cover the vegetables.
*Tie up the bird (your choice) and place it on the roasting rack, make sure you take out the giblets and neck. Put a few spoonfuls of vegetables inside. You can stuff the turkey if you like, but you'll have to cook it longer and risk overcooking the outside
*Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a bowl with 1 tsp black pepper. Using a brush, brush the butter/pepper mix all over the bird. You may have to flip the bird over to get everywhere, and the butter makes it very slippery. Be careful!
*Preheat the oven to 325 and put the whole thing, pan, rack and bird, in the oven.

Roasting
*Cook the bird for 15-20 minutes per pound. A 10 pound turkey will take just under 3 hours to cook. The easy way to figure this is: P*M=T/60=H. P=pounds, M=Minutes, T=Cooking time in minutes, H=hours of cooking time. If you choose 17 minutes per pound, it would be: 10*17=170/60=2.83 hours.
*Some people will say not to baste the turkey more than once per hour. I like to baste every fifteen or twenty minutes. It can take longer to cook the whole bird that way, but I find that it's the only reliable way to make sure the vegetables don’t burn and the bird's not cooking too fast.
*If you're running out of water/juice from the roasting pan, pour in another cup of water.
*Use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the leg, but not touching the bone. When it's cooked it should read 170 for unstuffed, 180 for stuffed.

This method gives me consistent results. The brine makes the bird very moist, and the butter makes the skin a nice golden color that is a little crispy.
 

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