Turkey IS NOT turkey!
We all know what it is like to have awful, dry, sawdust turkey topped with watery, bland gravy that tastes of the floury lumps that plop out of the gravy boat. It is usually at the hands of a well-meaning, elderly relative that does not own a meat thermometer.
This post is an attempt to end the tradition of turkey travesty, and I intend to turn you into a turkey snob.
THIS IS THE BEST TURKEY!!!! It is unbelievable, and if you don’t use any other recipe on this site, TRY THIS ONE!!
Imagine serving the moistest, most amazing meat, topped with golden gravy goodness that will make you crave leftovers for days.
Go ahead, step out of your comfort zone, and just do it!
Now, to be fair, I cannot take credit for this. The original recipe is courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/brined-and-roasted-turkey-recipe/index.html
But over the last ten years, I have made some adjustments that make it a bit easier.
Brined and Roasted Turkey
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2001
- 1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey
- Brine, recipe follows
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into 8ths
- 1 large orange, cut into 8ths
- 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Reserved turkey neck and giblets
- 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped
- 1 small bay leaf
- 3 cups turkey stock, chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- 4 cups turkey broth
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
THE DAY BEFORE–
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 4 sprigs rosemary
To make the brine, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a non-reactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, plastic garbage bag.) Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary.
I cook a 22lb. turkey, so if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.
Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.
Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. I cook a very large turkey, so I put the turkey in a doubled trash bag with the brine. Then, I store it in a large cooler with ice overnight, on my patio.
THE NEXT MORNING
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. Place breast side down in a large, heavy roasting pan, and rub on all sides with the butter. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and thyme. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.
For the turkey broth: I add all the broth ingredients, along with the “turkey parts” into a medium pot and boil it for about an hour. Strain, reserving the liquid and discarding the solids. Reserve this broth for the gravy.
Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time.Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock. BE AWARE THAT THE BRINING PROCESS CAN SHORTEN THE COOK TIME! Keep a close eye on the thermometer.
Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
For the pan gravy: Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass-measuring cup and skim off the fat. Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat add the pan juice and 1 cup turkey broth and the white wine to the pan, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cup of broth and bring to a simmer, then transfer to a measuring cup.
In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Add the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.