As you know, Fall is my favorite season of life! The cool air, the changing leaves and pumpkins galore set my heart on fire. But what also gets me going about this time of year is all the incredible FOOD! And I’m not just talking about everything pumpkin spice!
With Thanksgiving just days away and Christmas closely creeping up behind it, there are many reasons to get together for a feast!
The main item of food that people typically want to cook during this holiday season is turkey! If I’m totally honest, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of turkey. I find they are typically on the dry side and often times lack really amazing flavor (usually great reasons for more gravy).
In the last number of years, my husband decided to learn just how to cook the most perfect turkey. He always had wanted to try his hand at it, but was nervous. Knowing that it’s really easy to mess up a bird, he started studying all the various techniques on how to achieve the best tasting bird of life.
After years of practice, I am excited to share with you his process of how to cook the most incredible turkey of your life!
Now I will preface it with saying this: it IS a process. Rome wasn’t built in a turkey and if you want to sink your teeth into the best turkey you’ve ever tasted, you are going to have to commit a couple of days to the process.
But trust me when I say it WILL be worth it. If you follow the steps listed below, your life will change a bit. NO JOKE!
So what’s the secret you ask?! It’s simple. It’s in the brining. What’s brining, you might ask? It’s the process of soaking your turkey (or any meat, for that matter) into salty water, for an extended period of time. The salt water soaks into the meat and helps lock in all the moisture that usually gets lost during the cooking process. That is why this step is SO crucial in cooking a turkey and why it is a total game changer if you do it!
The second secret in cooking the best turkey of your life is to NOT stuff it! You read that right. DO NOT STUFF THE BIRD! Well, not with traditional stuffing, that is. The problem with stuffing the turkey is that the heat isn’t able to move all the way through the bird. This means it will take longer to cook the inner most parts, making the outside areas overcooked.
What hubby suggests, rather, is to make your stuffing separately and instead, loosely stuff the bird with aromatics: apples, carrots, garlic, celery, sage and rosemary. These are all the same ingredients that you put into the brine and it just intensifies the taste!
The third and final trick to cooking the best turkey of your life is to use a probe thermometer. Often times, people tend to overcook their turkeys, but if you have a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, you will know exactly when to take the turkey out of the oven. Set the thermometer to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and remove as soon as it reaches that temperature. And then let it rest and reabsorb it’s own juices.
Once the turkey has had time to rest, carve it up and serve on a beautiful platter for your family and friends. Wayfair has so many beautiful dishes to choose from, consider updating your dishes this holiday season!
We actually made a YouTube tutorial to walk you through every single step of the process, as well as have a recipe card down below, with all the ingredients. Have a watch and let us know what you think about hubby taking over my channel!
- 16 cups cold water
- 16 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 5 gloves of garlic, whole
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 3 - 5 bay leaves
- 2 -3 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 3 apples, quartered
- 7 - 10 Celery leaves
- 3 -4 cups of ice
- Reusable ice packs
- 1 apple, quartered
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, whole
- 1/2 carrot, quartered
- 3 - 5 celery leaves
- 3 - 5 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 -3 sage leaves
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Desired turkey rub, to taste
- Bring chicken stock to a gentle boil and remove from heat.
- Add salt and brown sugar. Stir until dissolved
- Add in remaining turkey brining ingredients, other than the water and stir
- Add ice to the water, in a large sealable container (rubbermaid bin). Let sit until water is very cold
- Pour chicken stock mixture into the cold water and stir
- Place turkey in the bin, breast side down
- Add in 3 -4 reusable ice packs, around the turkey
- Close lid and place in a cool environment (fridge, cold storage, garage, etc).
- Let sit for 24 hours, replacing ice packs every few hours to ensure the water remains cold
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
- After 24 hours, remove turkey from brine
- Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water and pat very dry with paper towel
- Place on a rack, in a roasting pan
- Place herbs and vegetables inside the turkey
- Liberally brush the outside of the turkey with canola oil
- Salt and pepper the outside, to taste. Then sprinkle with desired turkey rub
- Place turkey in the oven, on bottom rack
- After 30 minutes, reduce heat down from 500 down to 350 degrees
- Cook until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit
- Once cooked, remove turkey from oven and allow it to rest for 10 - 15 minutes before carving
- Enjoy the best turkey of your life!
- Oven temperatures may vary and different cooking times will be needed for different sized turkeys.
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