Posted on November 17 2016
The Secret to the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey By Kristi Veliaj
Dear Pretty Birds,
If you find yourself, for the first time ever, preparing your own thanksgiving turkey, don’t panic. This year is the perfect occasion to crack the “perfect” turkey code. Because cooking a 12 pound turkey can be extremely intimidating, Debra, our favorite intern, jumped in and helped me research the newest cooking trends. But let me reveal our secret: the key to our success was Debra’s mom. She helped from the U.S., skyping, calling, facetiming a million times until the turkey was out of the oven, just perfect and amazingly delicious. And here you go, the secret to the perfect thanksgiving turkey from mamma Sharon’s kitchen to yours (you can thank us later):
The secret to the juiciest turkey is to brine it. You can use a wet brine recipe or a dry brine recipe, but we chose the dry one which can take 1-3 days. A dry brine, also called pre-salting, seasons the turkey like a more traditional wet brine, but it does not use any water.
This is what you need to brine the turkey:
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as thyme, sage, and rosemary, or blend
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (10-to-12 pound) thawed whole turkey (not kosher or pre-salted)
This is how you make it:
1.Clear some fridge space and make sure your pot will fit. This is the first step, before the turkey and before everything. You’ll get why when you find yourself with a big bird that you have no idea where to keep.
2.Place the turkey in the pot: Unwrap your turkey and remove the giblets, then transfer it to your pot. Add any aromatics you’d like to use.
3.Mix the dry brine together. Salt, pepper, and dried herbs in a small bowl. Loosen the skin. Using your hands, loosen the skin over the breast and separate it from the meat, making sure to break through the thin membrane between the skin and breast while leaving the skin itself intact. Loosen the skin over the meaty part of the legs.
4.Season the cavity: Sprinkle some of the brine mixture into the cavity of the turkey. Season the meat. Rub some of the brine mixture into the meat of the legs (under the skin). Rub some of the brine mixture into the meat of the breasts (under the skin).
5.Season the skin: Sprinkle the remaining brine mixture over all the skin of both the breasts and legs. Tuck the wings back: Bend the wings back and tuck under the breast.
6.Refrigerate: Place the turkey breast-side up in a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan and refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 day but ideally 3 days. You do not need to pat it dry before cooking
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 tbsp. of finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 tbsp. of finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 large bunch of fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ lb. (1 stick) Softened unsalted butter
- 1 whole lemon, halved
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 fresh turkey 10 lbs.- 12 lbs.
1.Mix the herbs, salt, pepper, and butter together and spread onto the skin and underneath the skin, save some of it.
2.Take remaining fresh herbs mixture, fresh rosemary, lemon, garlic and sage and stuff inside the cavity of the turkey.
3.Thinly slice 1 clove of garlic, make little cuts into breast, legs, and thighs of turkey and stuff the garlic inside.
4.Cook for 3 hours at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
5.Use baster and squeeze juice from turkey over the turkey after it cooks for an hour and a half, repeat every hour.
I hope you get through it and have lots of fun. Share your experience with us, pictures too!