I wanted to share the recipe I tried this year for our Thanksgiving Turkey since I know turkey dinner is on many Christmas menus. I think after 16 years of cooking this meal I have found the perfect technique for a beautiful, golden, moist turkey.
I started out with an 18 lb. Butterball turkey. You can adjust cooking times according to the weight of your bird.
I always brine my turkey and have tried many different recipes for brine in the past and I think I finally have a winner with Pioneer Woman's Brine. Here is what I ended up with after a few changes from her original recipe:
Perfect Turkey Brine
- 3 cups Apple Cider
- 2 gallons Cold Water
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Rosemary
- 1-1/2 cup Kosher Salt
- 2 cups Brown Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Peppercorns
- 5 whole Bay Leaves
I found huge Ziploc bags called Ziploc Big Bags right alongside the other Ziploc bags at my Walmart. I usually try to brine in a huge pot but it's very messy and hard to find a spot big enough to store it in the fridge. Love these bags!
Next, I used Martha's Parchment Turkey roasting directions and the turkey was beautiful!
Perfect Parchment Turkey
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Remove your turkey from the brine and rinse well. Pat dry with paper towel.
Cut 3 long pieces of parchment paper and arrange them one on top of the other, each one at a 90 degree angle to one underneath, like this:
Place your turkey in the center and slather with 1/2 stick of softened butter. Just use your hands and get messy!
Now, take the first piece of parchment and bring both ends up, around to the top of the turkey, and roll down, then staple in place. Repeat with the remaining layers of paper. I had enough space at the ends to roll and staple excess paper when I was finished.
Bake at 375 for 3 hours then remove paper, baste with all the yummy juices that have accumulated inside the paper and place back in over to roast for one more hour or so until breast reads 165 degrees.
Now, this is the critical part! Move your turkey to a quiet corner to rest. Cover the pan with foil, then layers of newspapers, then layers of old towels. Leave it alone for at least 45 minutes!
Okay, it's time to carve! Just look at her...
I'm totally going to try this technique with a chicken!