Recipe Rescue: Countdown to Thanksgiving, The Turkey
If this is your first time cooking the turkey or 100th time, there are always nerves that stir up when cooking the Thanksgiving Day Turkey. As you countdown to T-Time, remember it’s only a turkey and you can do this-no panicking allowed.
If you choose to brine your turkey, which some swear by and promise the tastiest and moist turkey they’ve ever had, I’m on the fence with this idea. I have brined and not brined and either way the turkey is always perfect. So there are a million recipes out there, the key is a thawed bird, breast in first, use a brinng bag or a 5 gallon bucket from a hardware store, ice it plenty and add ice when needed, if there is room in your fridge put it in there or in the garage. The liquid is a mixed bag, you choose the best concoction for you and your family. This brine recipe from Whole Foods is pretty cut and dry and very effective:http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/basic-brine-turkey
Once I am ready to cook the turkey I set the oven at 325 degrees, dry the turkey off and coat it with a blanket of butter, I use Season All, pepper and garlic powder and sprinkle that all over the turkey after I have buttered it. You can also start the turkey at a higher temp, which I do often to melt the butter and make for a crispier skin, if you do the temp should be about 450 degrees for about 20-30 minutes then cover the breast with foil and turn the oven down to 325. Do not baste the turkey as it will add cook time and possibly make for an unevenly cooked turkey. Towards the last half hour of cooking I like to throw in a cup or two of chicken broth. If your turkey has a button DO NOT wait for it to pop, you will have an overcooked turkey. Use an instant read thermometer and pull the turkey out when it reads 157 in the thickest part between the leg and the breast, don’t hit any bones this will give a false reading. The turkey will need to rest for about ten minutes in that time the residual heat will continue cooking the turkey 5-7 degrees, typically.