Roasted Turkey

WOW!!  This is just about the best turkey I have ever had and I am not a great lover of roasted turkey.  Most every turkey I have had is dry and tasteless.  It can be very difficult to cook it just right because you have these big fat legs of dark meat that take much longer to cook than the thinner breast meat.  So what’s a cook to do?  In Anthony Bourdain’s video he just cuts the legs off and cooks them longer after removing the breasts from the oven .  Most of us don’t want to do that because we won’t have that pretty bird to put on the table. But really how many of us put it on the table to carve anyway.  If you are feeding a large group of people it is easier to slice it and serve buffet style.  So then no one gets to see the big browned bird.

I chose to leave the legs on my bird and to use a different method for preparing the turkey before putting it in the oven.  Searching the internet for the best method of cooking a turkey I kept coming across Alton Brown’s brining method.  I have read about this in Cook’s Illustrated and in  many other cookbooks.  I have soaked chicken in a salty brine before, but never thought about a turkey. 

If you choose to do your turkey this way you need to view Alton Brown’s video called “Turkey Brining Secrets”.   It is a great video . Then check out his recipe for roasting the turkey.  It really is very informative. I am following most of it.  First you have to thaw the turkey.  This will take about three days in the refrigerator.  You can speed the process by putting in the sink with cold water and changing the water about every hour.  Do not leave it out to thaw!  That is a good way to get sick.  

For the brine you need:

  • 1 c. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • gallon of vegetable stock
  • 1 T peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 t. allspice berries (optional)
  • 1 1/2 t. chopped candied ginger (optional)
  • 1 gal. iced water

Heat a gallon of vegetable broth

Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar

Next add 1 cup Kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of allspice berries

1 Tablespoon of Peppercorns

Heat all of this with the exception of the gal. of iced water until the salt and sugar are dissolved.  Let it cool and then refrigerate for  up to 2-3 days.   Make sure that you CHILL the brine.

Turkey in a bucket

You need a 5 gallon bucket to put the turkey in.  As you can see mine is bright orange.  The Athlete kindly picked this one up for me.  I was told it was the only one they had.  It really stands out I know!!  And I am not really advertising for Home Depot even though it looks that way.  A white one would have looked better on the blog.  You do get the right idea though.

Brine in bucket

Pour the chilled brine

Pour in gallon of ice water.

Put the brine and the gallon of iced water in the bucket.  Put the turkey in head first.  Okay, first time turkey cookers listen up.    Please make sure to remove all the giblets and the neck.  Look in both cavities!!!  Don’t laugh.  You don’t want to have  your brother-in-law  to carve the turkey and pull out the giblets still in the plastic bag.  That is a hard one to live down.   

Put a bag of ice on top of the turkey.  Place in the refrigerator for 8- 16 hours turning the turkey halfway through the brining process.

Rinse the bird and discard the brine.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  500 is correct!!!

Stuff the cavity with a coarse chop of onion,and apple that you microwave for about 5 minutes in a cup of water. Then add a stick of cinnamon.  Pat the bird dry and coat with  canola oil.  Alton Brown put other aromatics in the cavity.  Check his out. 

Making a triangle to fit over the breast meat.

Make a covering from  foil to cover the breast.  Form it to the turkey then take it off and oil the side that will touch the turkey.  This is going to keep the breast from drying out.  Put this on the counter to use later. Do not cover the breast yet.

This bird is ready for a 500 degree oven for 30 minutes

Place the turkey on the lowest rack in the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes .  Take it out of the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees.  Below is the pic of what it should look like.   Place the meat thermometer in the breast  and set the temperature to 161 degrees.

Here it is after 30 minutes

 Cover with the tent.  I put foil on the tips of the wings.  I forgot to tuck them under.  Place thermometer in the breast.  Notice that I took the picture with the thermometer in the thigh.  I moved it but did not take a picture.  Sorry!  Cook until the thermometer registers 161 degrees. 

Ready to reach 161 degrees!

When the alarm on you thermometer goes off.  Take the turkey from the oven and cover with a tent of foil or a large lid and let it sit to rest.  If you slice it right out of the oven all the juices will flow out of the turkey.  You want to keep them in to have a nice juicy turkey.  You going to love this! 

Happy Cooking,

The Teacher Cooks



Filed under Brine, Cooking, Recipes, Turkey

41 responses to “Roasted Turkey

  1. WOW! Your turkey is gorgeous! I had never heard of a brine that includes a sweet component (like brown sugar or apple cider) until I saw Alton Brown’s brine recipe. I’ve heard multiple rave reviews, making me very anxious to try the brine with the sugar. Thanks for sharing your beautiful creation!

  2. Jennifer Pham

    This turkey seems very flavorful. The turkey sounds easy to make. We should make that for Thanksgiving.

  3. tennessee friend

    once again – I am sooo impressed – the turkey looks great – I think the Tennesse orange bucket made the turkey look and I know taste great!

  4. The color on the turkey makes it more enticing to eat. You did a great job!

  5. What a fabulous turkey! I love your tips on brining and using the foil.I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I’d love to guide our readers to your site if you won’t mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it’s all set, Thanks!

  6. ooooh! I’m going to try this. I’ve never brined a turkey before!

  7. Fabulous looking turkey!
    I watched Alton Brown do the show on brining- I’ve never done it before. Maybe next year!

    Also saw a old Julia Child and Jacques Pepin show this week- they cut the legs off , took the bone out and stuffed them, then laid stuffing under the turkey breast and baked everything- putting the turkey “together” after. Looked really good.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  8. This turkey look absolutely fantastic, we make a lot of turkey to Christmas time.!
    Have a wonderful thanksgiving, gloria

    Love the pictures and the colour!.

  9. Jessica Noble

    This looks AHHH-MAZING. Would be great on a sandwhich with stuffing and cranberry.

  10. Ana

    This looks really good! it would have been fun to make a turkey for the class.

  11. Taylor Roddy

    this look delicous : ) its making me hungry just looking at it

  12. Uniqua Dortch

    Now this is what you call a thanksgiving turkey. It looks so yummy, juicey and tender. I know that there was alot of effort put into this turkey and it definitely shows.

  13. Carly Hart

    This looks fantastic! We’ve cooked our turkey many ways, but I’ve never heard of that! My family is going to have to try this!

  14. ariel smith

    this looks delicious, its makes me hungry just looking at it!

  15. Ashley Kendrick

    It’s cool how you can just put it in a bucket! By the way this looks great.

  16. Ashley Maryniak

    Mmmmm this seems good! 🙂

  17. Savannah Cole

    That looks yummy, i’m going to have to try it 🙂


  19. the turkey looks really good. i wish i could have some right now ! lol

  20. brandy adams

    looks juicy…..

  21. Taylor D

    this looks good!

  22. Brooke Maryniak

    This turkey looks great! I wish I read this blog before Thanksgiving!

  23. Leslie Stewart

    This looks amazing! Thanksgiving turkey is always fun to make.

  24. Yesica Melchor

    This looks like a very long process. The turkey looks good, if only I’d liked it just a little bit…

  25. blakely

    this looks great. i love turkey

  26. Becca

    Sounds like a great new way to try making a turkey!

  27. Brooke Davidson

    This looks like a very difficult process.

  28. Allie

    I’ve never seen my family prepare a turkey like that. My grandmother might though. since she marinates and cooks her turkey before we come over. My mom just used a baster and brush to put sauces and marinades on it.

  29. ashley

    this turkey looks delicious! i love turkey

  30. Erin

    This looks delicious! I’ve never heard of making a turkey this way, it’s different and seems so easy

  31. Elizabeth

    Turkey looks pretty great!

  32. Parker

    I still don’t get the point of the ice water and bucket.

  33. hanna

    i’ve never heard of doing turkey like this! it looks yummy!

  34. Isata

    mmhm; this looks delicious :))

  35. Shane Davis

    awwwww your turkey is shiny

  36. imari

    this turkey looks perfect.

  37. zuleima

    mm que rico pavo se mira casi al que cosina
    mi abuela jejej que bien

  38. zuleima

    mm that rich turkey watches itself watches almost just as to that cosina my rich grandmother who

  39. evan

    Emm turkey reminds me of thanksgiving looks good!

  40. kenny

    the turkey looks very good its making me hungry just lookin at it

  41. Lindsey Hale

    I really never knew you had to put ice and cold water on the turkey inn a bucket.

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