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OTHER ITA SITES:
One Bird the President Didn�t Pardon
The talk around town in November was mostly politics, but after the election, people started talking turkey.
The thought of using a self basting or kosher turkey did not appeal to me, I�ve never liked taking too many short cuts, I find it ruins the fun. But I had heard a lot of talk about brining and how it cut cooking time down and made the turkey universally moist.
I did a bit of research, reading magazines and online articles and finally I got the basic formula: one cup of salt per one gallon of water. Salt and water seemed pretty boring so I researched further. Recipes for brine were a dime a dozen, some made sense while others were downright bizarre. Finally, I decided I wanted my brine to give my turkey a little more than a salt bath and came up with my own recipe based on that one cup � one gallon ratio
I started out with a half gallon of water in a large pot. I added two cups of salt and one cup of brown sugar. I brought it to a boil and kept it on just long enough to dissolve the salt and sugar. Next, I dropped in some peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves, and some thyme.
Finding a container big enough to hold a fourteen pound turkey and enough brine to cover it wasn�t much of a task. I just so happened to have a five-gallon bucket that I used for home brewing.
I poured the slightly cooled liquid into the bucket, topped it off with another half gallon of water, and added a couple trays of ice cubes to hasten cooling. I then added one gallon of apple cider and one cup apple cider vinegar. I placed my turkey into the liquid, completely covered and let it brine away in the fridge for eighteen hours.
The Big Day
On Thanksgiving morning I preheated my oven, pulled the bird out of its salt soaked slumber, rinsed it off, and patted it dry. I stuffed the bird with stuffing that I had pre-cooked that morning and found a suitable roasting pan. Twenty minutes per pound was what I had heard for roasting a brined turkey and I factored in an additional twenty minutes for the stuffing.
I roasted the foil-covered turkey at 400F for the first three and a half hours, basting it every half hour. In its last hour, I removed the foil, turned the heat down to 375F degrees and brushed a honey mustard glaze on it. I let it rest about thirty minutes so that the juices could settle and then it was carving time.
My first reaction was �Wow it slices like butter!� The reaction of my dinner guests said it all�this turkey was different from its grainy, bone dry predecessors�this bird had taste! Safe to say I�m sold on brining.
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