Thanksgiving - Turkey 

Well, brining has been really good! But here is still a basic recipe which has been good for years too. 1 t per lb is a good place to start for dry brining.

When bird is at finished temp leave it at room temp at least 40 minutes, uncovered, to let the juices redistribute. OR if you've allowed plenty of time just leave it in the oven at 170* for an hour or so then use the residual heat from it and the turned off oven to hold it as much as another couple of hours.

Allow 4 or more hours until bird is ready to serve. Don't short the rest period!

Now I use the wet Brine, and love love love it:

In medium pot boil together:
1 qt water
5 oz sea salt
2 1/2 oz sugar
1 garlic head, halved crosswise
1 t peppercorns (I use tri color)
1 t red pepper flakes
1 lemon (peel the zest, halve the lemon, squeeze juice into pot, then add halves and zest)
6 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, 12 fresh sage leaves
1 yellow onion (peeled and sliced)
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
Simmer until salt and sugar have dissolved.
Remove from heat and add 1 qt ice and mix well as you chill it. Pour over the bird and add another 1 qt as needed to cover it.

*Be generous with the spices, I haven't yet had a brine be too spicy!

*In my 12 qt Cambro immerse the prepared bird for 48 hours. I cut out the backbone, wings separated from the breast, legs and thighs cut from the breast. This 25 lb bird barely fit in the container. The 28 lb bird absoulutely barely fit in my 15 qt brazier pan.

*Use a hotel pan which is 14 quarts, or my 15 qt brazier pan. Or if you really need to use the 22 qt plastic pail and immerse the bottom part in a cooler filled with ice water!

*If you must divide the brine make up smaller batches so the solid spices are more evenly dispersed.
I like to use a 20+ lb turkey or so.
Cut the dark meat from the white meat at the backbone. There is a spot where you don't cut through any bone.

Rinse it well. Cut off the wing tips. The broth is better made using a lot of raw bones.)

Using two 10x14 baking dishes, or baking sheets to allow more hot convection air to blow in it, put the breast in one and the legs in the other. Keep the neck and giblets for broth later.

Sprinkle salt and pepper everywhere, quite a lot of it. Roughly 1 t per pound. Loosen the skin from the breast and rub salt under it. Leave the breast standing on its cage with the skin all tucked in around it.

**From reading my new cookbook - leave this salted turkey lightly covered in the fridge for a day or two to allow the salt to go all the way into the meat to season it from within. This is called dry brining.

Roast at convection roast 425* for 30 minutes to an hour. The skin should be golden not really pale.

Turn heat down to convection roast 250* for about 2 hours. Be sure to drain off juices as they collect. You don't want the turkey to boil or steam.

Check the temp in the thickest part of the thigh. Roast the dark meat until it registers 160*. Check the temp of the breast, which should finish at 150*.
Temp can climb quickly after 130*. Watch it or slow it down.

It should look deep golden and the skin should be pulling back from the bones. You want the meat to not be overdone but also to come off the bones easily enough. Underdone turkey is just not a pleasant texture!

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