Saturday, November 29, 2008


I was following Alton Brown's roast turkey recipe for the brining portion.


* 1 cup kosher salt
* 1/2 cup light brown sugar
* 1 gallon vegetable stock
* 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
* 1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
* 1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
* 1 gallon iced water

First into the pot goes the kosher salt.

Next, the brown sugar.

Followed by the vegetable stock. I didn't have a gallon of this stuff so I used 5 cans and water for the balance of the 128 ounces.

When I saw the next ingredient (allspice berries) I was reminded of why I probably have them in my spice drawer to begin with!

I'm also a white peppercorn girl but you can use whatever you have handy.

I skipped the candied ginger as I didn't have any of that, either. I figured it wouldn't be too important, especially since I wasn't following the second half of the recipe (see link above).

I brought the mixture to a boil so that the salt and brown sugar dissolved.

After it was brought to a boil I was in a hurry to get the turkey in the brine. You can't put the turkey in while it's hot so I brought it down to cool (cooler than room temp) with ice cubes. I remembered to do a rough count of the ice cubes towards the gallon of ice water needed in the recipe.

I was fortunate to score brining bags from Williams-Sonoma this year so that's what I used.

In goes the liquid. You want to try to get as much air out as you possibly can prior to sealing the bag. Incidentally, you can also do this in a 5 gallon bucket. I did it once in a (clean, new) Home Depot bucket. But it's a bear to clean up so I prefer the bags.

After the turkey is done brining (6-12 hours), rinse it thoroughly inside and out. Place it in the pan and dry it with paper towels.

I used this wet turkey rub from Williams-Sonoma. I have to say that I'm not that impressed. The flavor was all right but, well, you'll see what happens.

Rub that stuff all over your turkey!

I mean, allllllllll over...

Next, take some veggies (onion that's been quartered, celery, carrot, and garlic cloves which have been peeled). Cut them into manageable pieces. For the carrots and celery I basically cut them into thirds.

Stuff 'em into that bad boy...or girl...

Put your probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set the alarm for 161 degrees.

Per Alton's recipe, you want to roast it at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Not such a great idea with this particular wet rub since it has brown sugar on it. Anyway, then you turn it down to 350 degrees until it hits 161 degrees internally.

See why it's not a great idea with this rub?

I was honestly thinking of not showing you this photo. But I figured I'd might as well. I'm human, and not everything I make comes out looking like the best meal ever. I will say, however, that after we let this turkey rest for about 45 minutes we peeled off the skin, carved it, and had a great meal. It was delicious! I was so happy that it tasted good despite looking sketchy.

I made the best stuffing ever, incidentally. I used Grand Central Baking Company's recipe and stuffing roughly. I didn't have the fresh herbs for it, unfortunately, so I used dried parsley, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. It was crunchy yet soft (the oh-so-elusive balance!). It was perfect.


~Corey said...

Sorry your turkey burned, but I'm glad it was still tasty. I've never made a turkey at all, so I'm impressed with your effort.

Mary said...

Turkeys are pretty easy, actually. You don't have to brine it (although it's good for moisture and flavor). Don't let that bird intimidate you! :)

Margaret said...

I use Alton Brown's brining method, too, only I use plain tap water, brown sugar, and kosher salt.

I like the idea of putting the bird in a ziplock. Unfortunately, I usually do a 20 - 30 lb bird.