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Friday, November 16, 2018

10 steps to the BEST Thanksgiving Turkey you will ever make.

The very first turkey I ever made was tough, dry and kind of bland. My husband and I were newlyweds and I really wanted to surprise him with a fancy, home cooked meal. I bought a small turkey which I thawed in the fridge. Then I salt and peppered it and put it in the oven. I used the little plastic pop up timer on the side to let me know when it was done. Back then, I was so proud of this beautiful bird I'd cooked for the love of my life. But, really, it was pretty terrible.

Since then. I have tried so many different ways to make the BEST turkey. I've used brines and dry rubs. I've smoked the turkey, roasted the turkey, and even fried the turkey. Still, time after time, I return to this same recipe. It's goof-proof and makes the most tender and juicy turkey you will ever eat.

Is it time-consuming? Yes. But most things that are worth doing right will take time.
Is it expensive? Not really. You need a 5-gallon bucket, salt, some herbs, and spices. Plus a few veggies
It is worth it? ABSOLUTELY! Everyone who has ever eaten my turkey tells me it is the best they have ever had. Even our friend who insists that Turkey is the worst tasting meat out there LOVES this recipe.

This is my Thanksgiving Turkey from last year, fresh from the oven.
Here is how it's done:

1. Thaw your turkey.

 Allow yourself 24 hours for every 5 pounds. It is important that you thaw your turkey properly to avoid food born illnesses such as salmonella and E-Coli. A turkey that is properly thawed will cook evenly, too, which is also important.

2. Rinse, remove giblets, and prep your turkey for the brine. 

The first time I made a turkey I didn't know there was a packet of "extras" inside the bird's cavities. You will want to dig in there and remove the neck, gravy bag, and innards. Some people like to use those things for making the gravy, but I just toss them. The drippings from this turkey will be perfectly seasoned and ready to be made into gravy without having to use all the extras. Once it is all out, rinse it clean inside and out.

3. Soak that bird!

Prepare your brine soak:
Place your turkey in a large bucket, then add
one cup salt
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 oranged quartered, squeezing the juice into the bucket--then throw the rest in.
1 TBSP. rosemary
1 TBSP. thyme
1 TBSP. rubbed sage
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 onion, chopped
enough water to cover the turkey.

When we lived in Utah, it was cold enough in our garage to keep the turkey cold. Here in Georgia, we are still pretty warm so I will be keeping my turkey bucket in the fridge this year. 

4. Wait.

Give your turkey time to soak in all the flavors overnight or for at least 4 hours.

5. Remove & rinse.

After it's nice and marinated, remove it from the brine. give it a quick rinse, and pat it dry with some paper towels.

6. Season & inject.

Put about 2 tablespoons of flour in a turkey roasting bag and shake to coat. place the turkey inside, breast side up, then place in a high-sided baking or roasting pan. *This part seems pretty gross, but it makes all the difference.* GENTLY slide your hand between the skin and the breast meat, breaking through the connective tissue. Try not to break the skin. Pat dry with a paper towel. Mix together 1 softened stick butter and 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon sage, and 1 teaspoon rosemary and  1 teaspoon garlic powder. Place mixture between skin and breast meat and spread around until it is evenly distributed.

Next, you will fill a measuring cup with about 2-5 cups (depending on the size of your bird) chicken broth, add ground sage, ground thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, and poultry seasoning. Mix together. Then, using a flavor injector syringe, inject the flavor mixture all over the turkey. The more you inject, the juicier it will be. talk and pepper the top of the turkey.

quarter an apple, an onion, and slice a few celery sticks. Place those inside Turkey's cavity.

7. Make it comfy

Preheat your oven to 350. Close up the roasting bag and allow your turkey to "rest" on the counter until the oven is ready. 

8. Bake.

Bake your turkey at 350 for approximately 15 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer to check that the inside of the turkey has reached 165* before declaring it done.

9. Remove & Rest

Once your turkey has reached the desired internal 165-degree temperature, Remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for about 30-40 minutes.  After resting, cut a slit in on of the corners of the roasting bag and drain the excess juices into a bowl or pan (you will use this for gravy). Then remove your turkey from the bag and place it on a large serving platter.

10. Slice.

Slice the turkey in whatever fashion you choose. I found this video to be helpful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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