With Thanksgiving Day holiday right around the corner I thought I'd share this recipe with you all that was shared to me by a friend found on the web...
In 1999, The Chronicle Food section cooked more than 28 turkeys to find the best method of producing a plump, juicy bird. Our favorite -- by far -- was the turkey that we brined before roasting.
To be sure nothing had changed; we retested the recipe last year and loved the turkey just as much.
Brining produces an incomparably juicy turkey, with wonderful flavor and texture. If you don't have room to brine the turkey in the refrigerator, use an ice chest. Place the turkey and the brine in a heavy-weight plastic garbage bag (don't use bags made from recycled materials), then place that bag inside a second bag. Smoosh out all the air pockets, close the inner bag, then the outer, and pack in the chest with ice. The bird will happily -- and safely -- brine away.
Brining works best with a 12- to 16-pound unstuffed turkey roasted at 400 degrees. If you need to serve more people it's best to roast two smaller turkeys. However, if you do choose to brine a bigger bird, figure that a 20- to 22-pound brined turkey may take 3 1/2-4 1/2 hours to cook. The oven temperature should be the same (350 degrees) as for the unbrined Big Bird instructions that follow.
Here's how to brine the turkey, along with a re-cap of the best way to roast an unbrined turkey, the best way to roast a large turkey, and the best way to grill-roast a turkey -- all unstuffed. We found it's best to bake the stuffing separately, but for the best way to roast a stuffed turkey see the chart elsewhere in this section.
In all cases, roasting times may vary depending on the temperature of the turkey when it goes in the oven, the accuracy of the oven thermostat, how many times you open the oven door and how long you leave it open (each time the door is opened, the oven temperature can drop 75 degrees).
To be sure it's done, the turkey's internal temperature should be 165 degrees at the thickest part of the thigh. When pricked with a fork, the juices should run clear. After taking it out of the oven and before carving it,
let the turkey rest 20-30 minutes; the internal temperature will continue to rise several degrees.
BEST WAY BRINED TURKEY
This is the Food staff's favorite turkey. Brine the turkey for 12 to 24 hours, using the accompanying recipe for the brine from Chez Panisse.
Before roasting, rinse and dry the turkey well, and roast according to the directions for the Best Way Traditional turkey, but do not sprinkle the turkey with salt.
CHEZ PANISSE’S TURKEY BRINE INGREDIENTS:
2 ½ gallons cold water
2 cups kosher salt
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
1 bunch fresh thyme or 4 tablespoons dried
1 whole head of garlic cloves separated, peeled and lightly crushed
5 whole allspice berries crushed
4 juniper berries smashed
INSTRUCTIONS: Place the water in a large non-reactive pot that can easily hold the liquid and the turkey. Add all of the ingredients and stir for a minute or two until the sugar and salt dissolve. Put the (thawed/fresh) turkey into the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. A cooler with ice will do as well. If the turkey floats on top, cover it with plastic wrap and weigh it down with a plate or something heavy to keep it completely submerged in the brine. Note: You may halve or double the recipe. The important thing is to prepare enough brine to cover the turkey completely. Remove the bird from the brine rinse and drain well. Pat dry. Roast, as you normally would check the temperature about 1 ¾ hours into cooking.
NOTE: I’ve cooked a pound of two over the recommended bird weight for this recipe and had the same success as long as all of the ingredient measurements are in proportion. The best temperature to remove the turkey for perfectly cooked white meat is 155-160 degrees breast temperature. Be certain that the thermometer does not touch bone or the results will be inaccurate. I've added other ingredients to take it up a notch and so can you. Going on my tenth year with this recipe and it's always been a hit!...
click on the website recipe source link below for more info:
Brining is the way to go Jim! The meat all around will turn out tender and juicy. If you're gonna do the Chronicle recipe, all of the ingredients you should find readily available in your local grocery store.
The juniper berries should be on-hand in a spice store, specialty/high end type of grocery store or online but should not be that difficult to acquire...
Keep an eye on that thermometer It's gonna be a hit!... :)