Monday, November 29, 2010

Roast Brined Turkey with Garlic Herb Butter

My favorite Thanksgiving leftovers in the world can be found on Robinswood Court in Lakeland, FL. Which makes me chuckle, since The Chef at said address has a totally different cooking style than I do. I'm herb-crazy; she is not. But her turkey is always awesome, and her stuffing is my favorite stuffing in the entire universe.

Turkey, though, is just one of those things: my own is my favorite, because I make it how I like it. Individual tastes always win turkey wars, I think. So this is how I make it.

Turkey Brine and Garlic Herb Butter
1 13-pound turkey, thawed
1 large, clean bucket (I used a clean trash can)
1 gallon apple juice
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 large sprig rosemary
4-5 thick sprigs thyme
1 gallon ice water
1/2 gallon's worth of ice cubes

Garlic Herb Butter
1 stick butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper

To brine turkey: Pour some of the apple juice into a medium pot - maybe 4 or 5 cups. Add the salt, sugar, rosemary, and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, until salt and sugar are dissolved and herbs are fragrant. Remove from heat and add water and ice cubes; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture is cool (add more ice if necessary). Submerge the turkey breast-side down, filling cavity with brine. Let brine for at least 8 hours (overnight).

The next morning, remove turkey from brine and discard brine. Rinse turkey all over, including cavity. Pat the outside dry with paper towels. Let the turkey dry, uncovered, in the fridge for a few hours to let the skin dry, otherwise the skin won't be as crisp. (I let it sit in the fridge for a day, uncovered).

When ready to roast, preheat oven to 350. Separate the turkey skin from the meat, then stuff butter under skin. Coat the outside of the turkey with remaining butter. Roast for 2 1/2 hours, or until internal thigh temperature reaches 160 degrees (it'll coast to a higher temp outside the oven).

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