It’s time to name the Turkey
December 1, 2008
I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday. Over the next few days, I will be posting the recipes from our Thanksgiving celebration. You will have to forgive me so getting in on the game so late. You see I just came out of the Holiday coma. Well, I actually came out this morning when I woke up and it was Monday. It felt like someone threw ice cold water on my sleeping body when the alarm went off, but I digress. We can mourn the loss of my weekend some other time.
We will start with the main event, the big show, the ringmaster, insert another big top reference here: the Turkey. One of our holiday traditions is the naming of the bird. I am not sure why we do this. It is kind of mocking when you think about it; providing a final label to the tasty morsel that will grace your table. But, we are morbid so life continues.
This year the turkey had two names. My sister, the food sprayer, ditched her usual vote of Tom (which is completely unoriginal and wrought with Freudian undertones since that is my father’s name) for Juggs. She then giggled with glee and slapped his wrapper bottom. Disturbed, I tell you. My husband when asked choose the more direct approach and dubbed this new family member TFT, which stood for Tasty “Expletive starting with an F” Turkey.
So without further ado, I give your Juggs the Tasty “Expletive starting with an F” Turkey
He was brined and juicy. He was fabulous. And his glorious 19 pound body cooked in an hour and 30 minutes, which left our over timer dumbfounded. It was a great day.
From my personal Yoda: Alton Brown
- 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 gallon vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
- 1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
- 1 red apple, sliced
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup water
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 6 leaves sage
- Canola oil
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied 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 the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
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 canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 151 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.