Brined and Roasted Turkey
Serve up a succulent turkey that has a balance of moist white and dark meat using chef Chris Schlesinger's technique for preparing and roasting a bird.
- Servings: 12
Source: Martha Stewart Living Television
- 2 gallons cold water
- 2 cups bourbon
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 twelve- to fifteen-pound turkey, giblets removed and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cornbread, Apple, and Sausage Stuffing
- 4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, or low-sodium canned
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley stems (about 1 bunch)
- Thanksgiving Gravy, for serving (optional)
In a pot large enough to accommodate the turkey, combine 2 gallons water, the bourbon, 2 cups salt, and the sugar. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Add turkey, and refrigerate for 18 to 36 hours.
Remove turkey from the brine, and dry well with paper towels. Let stand, covered, at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons salt and the white and black pepper. Rub the inside and outside of the turkey with the salt-and-pepper mixture. Fill the large cavity and neck cavity with as much stuffing as they hold comfortably. Do not pack tightly, or the stuffing will not cook through. (If all the stuffing does not fit, simply transfer the extra to a buttered baking dish, and bake covered, for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes more in a 375 degree oven.) Tie the legs together loosely with kitchen twine. Fold the neck flap under, and secure with toothpicks. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a heavy metal roasting pan. Fold the wing tips under the turkey.
Soak a clean kitchen towel in the chicken stock. Lift the towel out of the stock, and squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread it evenly over the turkey. Place the turkey in the oven so breast is facing the front of the oven. Roast for 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes.
Carefully remove the towel. Turn roasting pan so the breast is facing the back of the oven. Baste turkey with pan juices. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully. Add onions, carrots, celery, and parsley stems to the roasting pan around the turkey. Roast 1 hour more, basting after 30 minutes.
Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Do not poke into a bone. The temperature should reach 165 degrees and the turkey should be golden brown. The breast does not need to be checked for temperature. If the legs are not fully cooked, baste the turkey, return to the oven, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
When fully cooked, remove the turkey from the oven, and let it rest, covered, for at least 20 minutes. Transfer to a carving board. Make the gravy, and serve with turkey.