This delicious turkey is brined and brushed with a fresh herb butter for extra juiciness.
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Surprisingly to my family and in-laws, this was the first turkey this turkey ever cooked! But I did it, wrestling two 18-pounders: my free range Deistel turkey, and my free range baby. The brining of the turkey was great. I ended up with a tasty brine mix from a gourmet shop which recommended adding sugar then vinegar. I added the onions as per the Rouxbe recipe. The gravy made from the drippings was extra flavorful I think because the drippings were coming from a brined turkey. I bought some turkey-lifting forks that facilitated turning the turkey, which worked well. Despite the fact that my father-in-law (whom I love) kept opening the oven for long periods to study the turkey, it cooked well and everyone raved about how moist it was. He couldn't understand why I didn't put stuffing inside it, or why I was basting with butter instead of drippings. But in the end, the meal spoke for itself. Thanks for helping me make a great meal!
Roasting a turkey or chicken is in my opinion a very simple thing to do, but until now I had never tried brining. I had heard of it but never gave it much thought. I can't believe I waited so long. The turkey (and chicken) I have made doing it this way were so moist and flavourful that I can't imagine doing it any other way from now on. Thanks Rouxbe!
After a day's brining and 2 hours rest in the fridge before roasting, my Christmas turkey turned out a winner. The depth of flavour was astounding. And the juiciness of ALL the meat was outstanding.
My daughter brought her boyfriend 'round for dinner and now I'm a legend in HER mind as well as mine.
I'm boiling the carcass now and the soup I'm sampling (after adding only celery leaves) is blowing my culinary cranium cortex (hereafter referred to as CCC)...
I have made many turkey dinners over the years and this was the first time I have put a turkey in brine and believe me not the last,the turkey cooked quickly and sooooo tender, even the white meat which is usually dry , was moist and tender, in fact my nephew commented that this was the best turkey he's had in his life which is a great compliment because his mom is a great cook.I can't wait to make turkey again.
I have brined in the past, but the salt/water ratio was much higher and, although the turkey was okay -- this one was superb! It was extremely moist and flavourful. I especially liked not having to stuff the turkey and really loved the stuffing recipe as well.
The gravy from the drippings and the method of putting stock/bones under the turkey is absolutely brilliant! Most delicious gravy I have ever made!
I have been looking to get a roasting pan and I have some questions. I believe that you used a non-stick pan in this recipe. Are there going to be times when I will want a stainless steel roasting pan instead, assuming that I can only afford one roasting pan? Also, what are the dimensions of the pan you used. It seems that most pans come in small and large, and I'm not quite sure what size would work best for a "normal" size turkey. Lastly, racks... Flat racks, v-racks, and no-rack are the options out there. Can you school me on the different types and benefits/disadvantages? I lot of questions I know, but I've never found anything online that can give me good answers to these questions.
In the turkey video, we used this roasting pan:
It is non stick which is great for cleaning up. Solid construction. AllClad is a great product.
At home I have a Calphalon Classic Bakeware 12-by-17-Inch Rectangular Nonstick Baking/Roasting Pan. It's only about $30 or $40 and is great for most things. You don't have to spend a fortune, especially if you don't use it often. However it may not last your lifetime.
If I were going to buy a really good quality one to last a lifetime though, I'd probably go with one like this:
Why? Because I love to deglaze bones and scrape the bottom for all the yummy bits for sauces directly over a flame. I do this when the roast comes out of the oven. Yes you can do this with the AllClad as well, but for this I prefer heavy duty stainless. Professionally, I never used non-stick except for cooking eggs and small frying jobs.
Big fan of the V-Rack (like the one featured above with the AllClad). It's main advantage is that it enables great heat circulation around the bird while cooking and it also allows you to make a short-stock at the same time underneath for moist birds. No disadvantages that I know of, other than they are a bit of a pain to clean sometimes unless you spray them really well.
And whatever you choose, stay clear of non-stick coated pans, unless you are okay to throw them away once they start to peel. If you want non-stick, go with dark anodized exteriors that won't chip or peel.
My turkey turned out perfectly and I did not have to open the oven except to turn it (and a note from Dawn about "flipping the bird" by using two cloths helped tremendously as I was alone and have previously struggled with metal spatulas and pie lifters in the past... I may invest in the forks mentioned). I did the butter under the skin basting and my gravy was possibly the best ever and the turkey was moist (although it tested 'overdone' at 180 on my thermometer - perhaps I should have tested it sooner but was abiding by the 'no peek' rule). Nonetheless, it was still moist and delicious and the stuffing done separately (to accommodate vegetarians) and was great). I will try brining next time - it sounds like a home run based on the other comments and nobody complained about the process, which I assumed to be overwhelming. Thanks for a splendidly done video and Top Turkey Tips - ALL of which (sans brining) I followed with ease and success. And I will do it all again for Christmas!!!
I have brined turkey many times before, so I was already sold on that concept. My issue was with not stuffing the bird, as we have always stuffed our birds.. The 'outside' stuffing was every bit as good, if not better than any I have made in the past. What I question today (the day after Thanksgiving), is the speed at which the bird cooked, & the oven temperature. Following the T-Day instructions, I checked the turkey temperature at the 3 hour mark, only to find it at 170 degrees. Kind of three me a curve (it was only 3:00PM). But it held well & was still delicious when served at 6:00PM.
I had been counting on 15min/lb. as collaborated by several of my 'goto' reference books, but now also note that most recommend cooking at 325 degrees. So, next time (probably Christmas), I will cook the first hour (breast side down) at 350, flip & continue at 325.
My only other issue with the T-Day steps, involved 'placing the stuffing in the oven alongside the turkey'. I have a standard size oven, & this simply couldn't happen. Good thing I have a second kitchen in the basement.
All in all a terrific meal, appreciated by all.
The one thing that never seems to be consistent when cooking turkey, is how long it takes to cook.
If the bird is brined it generally cooks quicker. The timing also depends on your oven.
Yesterday I cooked about a 12lb turkey in under 2 hours (it was also brined). Thankfully turkeys do keep warm for a long time. And thank goodness for really hot gravy.
Donald, I think your suggestion of starting at 350°F and then turning it down to 325°F, is a good idea as well. If you have the time go for it, I often do the same thing.
Well yet again Rouxbe you did it....we had the most amazing dinner thanks to your site. We had 10 adults and 4 kids for thanksgiving dinner and it was a huge hit. The turkey was so good and so moist....the brining is the trick! I was really amazed at how fast our turkey cooked for a 22 lbs bird, just under three hours. I had checked the oven temperature before begining with a store bought guage and it was 25 degrees higher!! Good thing I checked or I might have had a dry turkey. We also made the gravey and the cranberry sauce, that was INCREDIBLE sauce. Again, thanks so much for being at our house this thanksgiving Rouxbe...it felt like you were in the kitchen helping with every step.
Air drying the turkey is really important, but it's not so much the time, but more so that it is dry. I like to leave it overnight. BUT you can speed things up by patting it dry with paper towel and even using a blow dryer (yes... a hair dryer). If the skin is wet when you put it in the over, it will steam for a while before drying. You want to start forming that nice crispy skin from minute one.
Wine suggestions are here on this page (lower left):
The turkey was delicious despite the fact that I did not brine it. I used an organic turkey that cost more, but was definitely worth it. Mine cooked quickly as others have mentioned. It actually got up to a reading of just over 180. Fortunately, it is still very moist. The herb flavors are nice throughout the bird.
I also made the stuffing / dressing recipe from this site:
I used three kinds of bread: wheat, corn and French. As I'm a bit of an experimenter, I added sunflower seeds, raisins, green apples, sausage and mushrooms to the recipe. It is absolutely outstanding! I'm so happy to have so much left over.
For our wine pairing, we had a wonderful selection from my last visit to Oregon. A 2005 Pinot Gris Estate bottle from The Eyrie Vineyards, Dundee Hills. It's a lovely medium body dry white with nice earthly and subtle floral tones of sunflower. Tastes of dried apricot and hay with a balanced smooth finish. I was very pleased with this selection, as some pinot gris are too bright for this type of meal. Yet, this wine is an excellent match for autumn poultry dish.
I really enjoy this web site.
I have been doing a bit of catering for christmas functions lately, and the response I get to doing the turkey this way is fantastic! Not only are they talking about the turkey but the amazing gravy that comes of it. I love cooking it this way and now I even brine my chicken breasts (bone in). Yum Yum Yum! Thanks Rouxbe
If using dried thyme, you want to only use about a third as much dried as you would fresh.
However if you are using this for the brine, I would omit it. Dried thyme sometimes has a tendency to taste moldy (at least to us here at Rouxbe).