UPDATE!! I have added a few things to the brine to give it a bit more flavor!
I want to say right off the bat that I am not a big turkey fan but this recipe and the way I prepare it, make it very tasty. The main part of of this recipe is the brine. After you brine it you can cook the turkey whatever way you want. If you have never brined a turkey or chicken or whatever, the brine makes the meat super moist and juicy. Now the way you cook the turkey, like I said, is up to you. Now that said, I know you are going to laugh at me for this, but I use my Ronco Rotisserie to cook the turkey each year. I’m not as fortunate as some awesome people to have a double oven so this is my way to keep the oven from being monopolized by a huge turkey. The oven can be used for other things like rolls and scrumptious apple pies.
Super Moist Turkey
Adapted from Good Eats
- 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
- For the brine:
- 1 5 Gallon Bucket with lid
- 1 c. kosher salt
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar
- 1 gallon vegetable stock
- 1 T. black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 t. allspice berries
- 3-4 sprigs rosemary
- Peels from 3 large oranges, like this
- 1 gallon heavily iced water
- For inside the bird:
- 1 red apple, sliced
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup water
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 6 leaves sage
2-3 days before
- 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, rosemary sprigs and orange peels. 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.
- When you are ready to cook the bird, remove the it from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine. Once thoroughly rinsed 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.
Now if you are going to use an oven, I would suggest following the instructions below, you can also see the video on how to cook it here.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan.
- 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 161 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.
- Tie bird up so that the legs and wings are not flopping around and are also covering the cavity so the things in the cavity don’t fall out.
- Cover drip pan with foil and place inside the rotisserie. This will catch juices from the bird so you can make gravy later.
- Place bird on the spit evenly so the bird doesn’t flop around when its rotating. It usually takes me 3-4 times before I can get it to sit right. Place on the other side of the spit.
- Place bird inside rotisserie on the middle notch so its not too close the heating element.
- Turn on the rotisserie on “Normal Rotation” and cook until the temperature on an instant read thermometer reaches at least 165 degrees. About 12 minutes per pound. Keep in mind though that the turkey will continue to cook after it is finished outside of the rotisserie. You could theoretically take it out around 155 degrees and tent it with foil and let the temp raise. But that is up to you.
- As the bird rotates, I like to brush it every once in a while with a mix of softened butter, chopped fresh rosemary, chopped fresh thyme, and chopped fresh sage. It comes out very nice and the skin is to die for.