Saturday, October 13, 2012

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A roast turkey prepared for a traditional U.S....
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How To Brine A Turkey

  Today I would like to talk about brining your turkey and how to roast it.  I started brining my turkeys about 5 years ago.  It was the best tasting and moist turkey I ever cooked. You can use the same method on a turkey breast and on chickens as well.
Do not brine a kosher or self-basting turkey because it will come out too salty.

Brining is the secret to a juicy, flavorful turkey.

Why Brine?

Brining makes it moist. Why are brined turkeys so juicy? Salt causes the meat tissues to absorb water and flavorings. It also breaks down the proteins, resulting in a tender-seeming turkey. This means that--despite the moisture loss during roasting and the long cooking time--you end up with a juicy bird.

How to Brine a Turkey

The real trick with brining is finding a container that's large enough to submerge the turkey, yet small enough to fit in your refrigerator. Try a stock pot, a bucket, or a roasting pan; if you use a shallow roasting pan, you will need to turn the bird periodically so that each side rests in the brine. Place the container on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator (so spills won't reach foods below).
The basic ratio for turkey brine is two cups of kosher salt to two gallons of water. Some recipes include sweeteners or acidic ingredients to balance the saltiness.
  • Dissolve salt (and sugar, if using) in two cups of hot water. Stir in remaining gallon plus 3 ½ quarts of cold water.
  • Remove giblets and neck from turkey.
  • Immerse turkey in brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours but no longer than 24 hours.

How to Roast Your Turkey

To prepare the turkey for roasting, first remove the giblets (and save for gravy or stuffing). Next, rinse the bird inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.
  • If you are stuffing the bird, stuff it loosely, allowing about ½ to ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey.
  • Brush the skin with melted butter or oil. Tie drumsticks together with string (for stuffed birds only).
  • Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body, and should not touch the bone.
  • Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven. Use the following chart to estimate the time required for baking.
  • Bake until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but helps promote even browning.
Weight of Bird
Roasting Time
(Unstuffed)
Roasting Time
(Stuffed)
10-18 lbs
3-3.5 hours
3.75-4.5 hours
18-22 lbs
3.5-4 hours
4.5-5 hours
22-24 lbs
4-4.5 hours
5-5.5 hours
24-29 lbs
4.5-5 hours
5.5-6.25 hours
  • The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (75 degrees C) at the thigh.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Eating.

Enjoy
The Old Guy
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1 comment:

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