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Thanksgiving Turkey

2011 November 16
by Alicia

I sent a tweet the other day, announcing my latest debacle.  My camera card has gone missing!  And I am smacking myself in the forehead for not saving my step-by-step “how to brine a turkey” pictures on my computer soon after taking them.

So, my dear friends, I am going to post a recipe without pictures.  I hate to do this, because the turkey looked just about as good as it tasted!  However, this recipe is too good not to share, so please take my word for it and make this your main dish next week on Thanksgiving.  You will be so happy that you did!

Have you ever brined a turkey?  If not, you are missing out!  I have never had a turkey so delicious.  A brine is an extra-salty solution that you let the bird swim in for several hours.  It is simple to put together, but everyone will think you spent hours in the kitchen.

Begin by bringing half of the water to a boil.  Add the boiling water to the salt in a large bowl.  Stir until the salt is dissolved.  Add the rest of your ingredients, minus the turkey and the ice, and stir really well.

You will need a large container for your turkey and brine.  A cooler or food-safe bucket will work.  If your cooler is too large, use an oven bag to hold the turkey and brine, but you’ll have to be extra careful that it won’t leak!

Add the ice to this container, and pour in the brine.  Stir well and then add the bird.  Make sure the liquid fills up the cavity, and place it breast-side down in the brine.  Let it brine for at least 12 hours.

When you’re ready to get the turkey in the oven, take it out of the brine and rinse it.  Discard the brine (it’s not good for anything– too salty!).  Tie the legs and wings in close to the turkey and roast about 2 1/2 to 3 hours for a 7 to 9 pound bird.

With your leftover turkey, be sure to make a batch of Turkey Enchiladas!

Thanksgiving Turkey
Recipe adapted from Food Network

3 quarts water
2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried thyme (or several sprigs fresh)
5 cloves garlic, crushed
7 to 12 pound turkey, cleaned and innards removed
several pounds of ice

Bring 1 1/2 quarts of water to a boil.  Put the salt in a large bowl.  Carefully pour the water over the salt, and stir to dissolve.  Add all of the remaining ingredients (including the rest of the water) but the turkey and the ice to the bowl, and stir to blend.  Put the ice in a food-safe bucket or cooler large enough to hold the turkey and the brine.  Pour the brine over the ice and stir well.

Submerge the turkey in the brine, making sure the brine fills the cavity, breast side down.  Cover and store in a cool location for at least 12 hours.  Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse.  Discard the brine.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Arrange the turkey in a roasting pan.  Brush lightly with oil, if desired.  Roast on the lowest oven rack until temperature reaches 170 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  Cover parts that brown quickly with a bit of foil.  Remove the turkey from the pan and let rest under foil for about 15 minutes before carving and serving.

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