Brining the TurkeyStart the night before you plan on cooking the turkey, this is a 10-12 hour process.
This is the turkey before being basted one last time to remove the sage and lifted out. It fell apart as it was lifted out of the roaster, so this was the best picture I had. It is seriously the best turkey I've ever tasted. I've tried several recipes before settling on this as my preferred recipe.
Large pot or medium cooler
Large plastic bag
1-1/2 cups kosher salt
1 1/2 cup Orange Juice
1 Tbs. cracked black pepper
4 dried bay leaves
Sprigs of Sage and Rosemary
Remove giblets and neck from the cavity (place in plastic bag in 1/2 cup orange juice in the fridge)
Pick a pot or cooler that will hold the turkey, but allow for approx 1-1 1/2 gallons of water to submerge it in as well.
Line pot or cooler with the plastic bag.
Place turkey in pot/cooler, and fill with enough cold water to submerge with 1" of water above the turkey.
Add remaining ingredients and stir until salt is dissolved.
Place turkey back in pot/cooler and pull plastic up and around turkey.
Sage Orange ButterINGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups orange juice, room temperature
Zest of an orange
1/2 cup fresh thyme
1/2 cup sage
Beat all ingredients together, the orange juice will not incorporate fully.
Cooking the TurkeyINGREDIENTS:
Sage Orange Butter
Stuffing, if applicable
2 cups of chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350
Pull turkey out of the brine solution, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
Place turkey in roasting pan
Tuck the wings under the bird and tie the legs together with twine.
Stuff the turkey if you are going to.
Coat turkey with Sage Orange Butter, get all the crevices and under the skin if you can.
Pour remaining Orange Juice over the turkey slowly (you don't want to lose all the Sage Butter off the turkey)
Pour bag with giblets and neck into the bottom of the roasting pan
Pour chicken broth in bottom of roasting pan
This recipe requires basting.
Cook for the first hour without opening the oven door, then baste every 30 minutes after that. If the turkey is browning too quickly, loosely tent with aluminum foil.
Cooking Times, from the USDA website:
Timetables for Turkey Roasting
(325 °F oven temperature)
Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.
|4 to 8 pounds (breast)||1½ to 3¼ hours|
|8 to 12 pounds||2¾ to 3 hours|
|12 to 14 pounds||3 to 3¾ hours|
|14 to 18 pounds||3¾ to 4¼ hours|
|18 to 20 pounds||4¼ to 4½ hours|
|20 to 24 pounds||4½ to 5 hours|
|4 to 6 pounds (breast)||Not usually applicable|
|6 to 8 pounds (breast)||2½ to 3½ hours|
|8 to 12 pounds||3 to 3½ hours|
|12 to 14 pounds||3½ to 4 hours|
|14 to 18 pounds||4 to 4¼ hours|
|18 to 20 pounds||4¼ to 4¾ hours|
|20 to 24 pounds||4¾ to 5¼ hours|
It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time. Remove carefully with tongs or a fork.
The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh (don't touch the bone) reads 180 F and the stuffing reads 165 F. The juice from the thigh should be clear when pierced with a fork and the drumstick and wings could just about fall off the bird when moved a bit.