Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rosemary Orange Roasted Turkey

This year was my second time ever cooking a turkey.
I opted for this recipe off of The Food Network, and it turned out fantastic.
I was a little nervous about brining because I had never done it before, but it turned out great -- the meat just fell off the bone which was something I (and my Dad who is a Thanksgiving turkey veteran) had never seen before.
yield: one 16-20 lb turkey

for brine
2 gallons water
2C apple cider
1½C sea salt
2C brown sugar
5 cloves garlic, minced
5 bay leaves
4 tbs black peppercorns
1/4C fresh rosemary
2 oranges, peeled (keep the peels!)

1 (16-20lb) turkey

for basting
1 stick butter, softened
3 tbs minced fresh rosemary leaves
zest of 1 orange

  1. for brine: Combine the brine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn off the heat.
  3. Cover pot and allow mixture to come to room temperature.
  4. Cool mixture in the fridge until you're ready.
  5. for turkey: Remove the turkey from the wrapper and remove the interior bags.
  6. Place the turkey in a plastic bringing bag or a very large pot.
  7. Pour cooled brine mixture over the top of the turkey, adding extra cold water if you need more to completely cover the turkey.
  8. Seal the bag or cover the pot, allow turkey to brine in the refrigerator for 16-24 hours before roasting.
  9. Before roasting, remove the turkey from the brine.
  10. Discard brine.
  11. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  12. Truss the bird (tie the legs together -- this was already done for me) and place it breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan.
  13. Stuff the turkey cavity with the two peeled oranges.
  14. Cover the turkey tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil.
  15. Make sure the roasting pan is completely covered.
  16. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes per pound. (My 16 lb turkey roasted for 2 hours and 40 minutes).
  17. Remove the turkey from the oven.
  18. Increase oven temperature to 375°F.
  19. Remove the aluminum foil from the turkey.
  20. Mix the softened butter with the rosemary and orange peel.
  21. Rub butter mixture all over the skin of the turkey, making sure the entire turkey is covered.
  22. Place the turkey, uncovered, back into the oven.
  23. Continue roasting the turkey, basting with butter every 15 minutes, for one hour.*
  24. Remove turkey from the oven and cover with foil until you are ready to carve and serve.
  25. Remove the oranges from the turkey before carving.
  26. Reserve pan juices to make gravy if you so desire (I did not).
  27. Enjoy!
*The original recipe says every 30 minutes until the meat thermometer reaches 170°F and the juices run clear. I don't know about the juices but the thermometer included with my turkey popped during the first run in the oven, and the meat thermometer measured way over 170°F mark by the first 15 minute basting session. I let it cook uncovered for 1 hour and it was perfect, so that is my recommendation.

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