How To Make Awesome Thanksgiving Turkey

Central Market in York, PA asked challenged me to buy local ingredients from the market for a family Thanksgiving dinner for under $40. Obviously I gladly accepted the challenge. This is the receipe for preparing the turkey.

Preparing the turkey for the Thankgiving meal can be daunting, to say the least.  Hopefully with this set of step by step instructions it will take a lot of the guess work and the fear of  making the icon of the American Thanksgiving table.

Preparing the Ingredients

  • 1 (8-10 pound) Turkey breast

For the brine:

  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ gallon chicken stock
  • ½ tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ¼ tablespoon allspice berries
  • ½ gallon iced water

For the aromatics:

  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Talespoons rosemary
  • 3 leaves sage, Canola oil

Pictured: 1/2 gallon chicken stock (2 boxes), 1/4 c brown sugar, 1/2 c salt, 1 Tablespoon peppercorns, 1 teaspoon all spice berries, 1 cinnamon stick

Put all the ingredients listed in a pot and bring to a boil.

You may have noticed I have 2 boxes of Wolfgnag Puck chicken stock.  This is normally out of my price range for purchasing stock.  Especially with out a coupon.  But also note the price I paid for it!  I found it at Amelia’s Grocery outlet.  LOVE that place!  Just watch your expiration dates.  As you can see this one is still ‘good’.

Combine ice water (ice and all) along with the cooled brine mixture.

Here is the turkey breast I got at Central Market. Nice isn’t it?!

Submerge your turkey breast, meat side down in the brine/ice mixture.  Store in the refrigerator or your freezing cold garage for 6 hours.  Be sure it is covered.

For the aromatics: ½ onion, sliced, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 cup water, 2 Talespoons rosemary, 3 leaves sage, Canola oil

Microwave all the aromatic ingredients in a microwave safe bowl for 5 minutes.  This will warm everything up and get all the flavors excited and ready to add flavour to your bird.

Place your aromatics in the cavity of your bird.  You can cook your bird in a roasting pan or a 9×13 but as you can see here, I have it in an oven safe, deep fry pan.  **Just be sure to use pot holders when you take it out of the oven.  Just because it is a pan normally used on top of the oven does not mean that it won’t get hot.  Not that I know from experience or anything!**

Now you are going to take a couple of tablespoons of canola oil and pour it over the skin of your bird.  Rub it around to coat.  Use an oil like canola because it is neutral in flavor.  Using an oil like olive oil is not suggested because olive oil has a low smoke point.  Meaning it will burn sooner than an oil like canola.  Plus you want to save your expensive olive oil for a recipe that the true flavor of the oil can be appreciated.

Now comes the scariest part of cooking your bird.  Crank up your oven to 500*.  No that is not a typo.  I said 500*.  Go  ahead and do it, your oven is built for it.  If you have spilled anything in your oven recently it will probably burn off when you turn it up this high.  It might even smoke. (not that I know from experience or anything)  Turn on a fan and you will be fine.  Now put your bird in the oven for 30 minutes.  This will give your bird a lovely golden color.  It is kind of like searing your bird but using indirect heat.

Now that the 30 minutes is up take your bird out of the oven (using oven mits) and turn back the temperature to 350*.  Wrap your bird with a double layer of aluminum foil.  This will keep your bird from getting too dark and maintain juicy meat.  Insert a digital probe (if available) in the thickest part of the meat.  If you don’t have one it is fine.  You can check it latter.  Put the bird back in the oven.  It doesn’t mater if the temp hasn’t dropped all the way to 350* yet.  Roast 20 minutes per pound of meat. (approximately)  This breast took about 2 1/2 hours.

The thermometer should read a minimum of 165*.  If you have a pop up timer you can wait for it to pop but I take those timers out.  I don’t trust them.  Some times they pop too soon, some times they pop when the bird is over done.  I have done all this work on the bird I can not chance an imperfect bird to a button timer. But that is just me.

***HERE is a link to the turkey recipe****

Here is my tutorial of GRAVY 

Here is my tutorial for CARVING THE TURKEY

Here is my tutorial for MAKING STUFFING