The Best Turkey I’ve Ever Had
The Day before:
Prepare the Brine of 2 1/2 gallons of apple cider
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup table salt
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
Heat apple cider/juice on the stove until all salt and sugar dissolves. Cool outside or in the fridge. Add the washed and dried turkey (don’t forget to remove and discard the giblets and neck inside the cavity) to the brine so that it can soak 12 hours.
Prepare a Compound Butter of 8 TB. softened butter
freshly ground pepper
4 TB. chopped fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage,
Make the Apple Syrup Reduction
-Bring 4 cups of fresh apple cider and 1/3 cup brown sugar to a boil. Simmer gently until reduced by half, about 40 minutes.
Make Apple Cider Gravy
-Melt 8 TB. butter in a medium saucepan. Add 8 TB. of flour and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 3 minutes.
-Add 2 cups of the apple syrup reduction and 3 cups of chicken or turkey stock (homemade is best) to butter and flour mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
-Add salt and pepper to taste, and 1/2 tsp of finely chopped fresh rosemary to finish it
The Day of:
Preheat a clean oven to 500 degrees. It will take a while, so leave plenty of time for this.
Pull a long piece of heavy duty tin foil off and fold it into a triangle. Oil the inside of the foil well.
Take the turkey out of the brine and rinse it off in cold water. Pat dry. Press the tin foil triangle onto the breast of the turkey, shaping it into a “shield” of sorts. Remove foil shield and set aside.
Rub the turkey all over with half of an orange or two. Sprinkle the cavity with kosher salt and pepper. Rub the softened herb butter underneath the skin and on the outside, all over the bird. Sprinkle outside of the bird with plenty of pepper, kosher salt and Old Bay seasoning, if you wish.
Stuff the turkey with: onion halves, orange halves, chunks of carrots, celery, fresh sage, thyme, parsley, rosemary and anything else that sounds good. Allow turkey to sit out at room temp for about an hour, no longer then that.
Place turkey in bottom third of the oven, and roast for 30 min at 500 degrees.
After 30 min, take the bird out, turn the oven down to 350 degrees, and place the tin foil shield over the breast. Put a remote thermometer into the breast, being careful not to touch the bone with the tip, and set the thermometer at 161 degrees.
A 19 & 1/2 lb., thoroughly thawed bird will take about 3 or 3 1/2 hours of total roasting time to reach 161 degrees.
Remove cooked turkey from oven, leave the thermometer in the breast and cover tightly with tin foil. Allow the bird to rest at least 20 minutes, or as long as you want. We left it about 45 minutes and it was still plenty hot and wonderfully juicy. Make sure the final temperature of the breast is at least 165 degrees, it will continue to cook as it sits.
Carve the bird according to the video on the NY Times website, a butcher from one of NYC’s markets gives a great demonstration.
Put the pan drippings into a gravy separator and pour the dark drippings into your previously prepared apple cider gravy. Adjust seasonings in gravy if needed.