Last year’s Thanksgiving had to be the best one yet because the turkey I made was SO GOOD! My picture from last year does not do the turkey justice, but believe me when I say, “YUM!” The crispy exterior and moist, flavorful meat was insanely delicious. I don’t take all the credit of course because the recipe actually came from Alton Brown. The Good Eats Roast Turkey is definitely my favorite of all the turkeys I’ve ever tried. I will have to admit I changed a few of the ingredients because let’s face it, the holidays can be expensive and using what I had on hand saved me a few dollars that made some of my other sides that much yummier. All the same, the turkey was fantastic and I just wanted to share my slightly altered recipe so you can try it at home. I hope your turkeys are already thawing. Enjoy!
1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the Brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup + 2 tsp light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tbsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the Aromatics:
1 red apple, halved
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Click here to see how Alton Brown does it.
2 to 3 days before roasting, thaw the turkey in the refrigerator.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, pepper, allspice and ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in a 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine making sure the bird fully immersed in the brine, cover and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining. (I just made sure I had enough ice to keep the brine and bird cold through the night.)
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with vegetable oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. When using a meat thrmometer, it should read 161 degrees F when the turkey is done roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.