Irrespective of what number of turkey recipes are on the market (hundreds? thousands and thousands?) not a November rolls by that I don’t sort “What’s the very best Thanksgiving turkey recipe?” in my google search bar hoping to realize some readability. And though there are various scrumptious methods to prepare dinner ’em, from stuffed to spatchcocked to fried, I feel it’s laborious to beat the simplicity of a basic brined roast turkey—particularly when it’s cooked to perfection with crispy pores and skin and an inside that’s juicy and flavorful.
However as most of us have skilled firsthand, “easy” doesn’t at all times imply simple. With a chook that’s greater than what most of us are used to cooking the remainder of the 12 months, plus steps like eradicating giblets or tying again wings, there are numerous methods to get it mistaken and find yourself with a turkey that’s uninteresting, dry, or each. So, in an effort to lastly nail down the best possible, foolproof approach for a brined roast turkey, I referred to as within the professional: Michael Fojtasek, the proprietor/chef of award-winning restaurant Olamaie, right here in Austin. He stopped by my kitchen, brined turkey in hand, to interrupt down the mysteries of precisely learn how to prepare dinner a turkey, what goes in his favourite brine, and most significantly: how do you get that lacquered, caramelized, crispy pores and skin of our Thanksgiving dreams? Scroll on for his solutions.
First, why brine a turkey?
A quick search for the best Thanksgiving turkey recipe will turn up claims that a simple seasoning before roasting is all you need. However, I’ve noticed that almost every chef I know swears by a salt brine to infuse tons of moisture and flavor throughout the entire turkey, not just the skin.
Quite simply, brining is a mixture of water and salt. Since turkey (especially the breast) is quite lean, it needs a bit of extra help to stay moist and tender, without drying out during the long cook time. Enter: brining. During the hours that the turkey sits in the brine, it absorbs the water that helps it stay juicy, as well as the salt that helps break down the protein (ie. tenderizing it) as well as distributing the seasoning throughout.
How to brine a turkey
First, clear some fridge space: a brined turkey does take up some room. You can use a large stockpot, however for many of us, a space-saving solution is a giant Ziploc bag (you can usually find it with the turkey supplies at your grocery around this time of year or on Amazon). Merely place the turkey within the bag with the brine to make certain it’s totally coated. Both method, Fojtasek advises utilizing a non-reactive container, and brine for twenty-four hours.
What turkey is best for brining?
Fojtasek says, “The best turkey is a nice organic bird that is as fresh as possible. However, if it has been frozen, be sure to let it thaw gently in your refrigerator.” Don’t brine a turkey that’s been pre-salted—since the brine is full of salt, it’s already given your turkey all the seasoning it needs.
How to give your turkey that crispy golden skin
Fjotasek shared his secret ingredient: sorghum syrup, which is often used in classic southern cooking. Sorghum syrup is a similar consistency and color to molasses, but is made using a sorghum cane rather than sugar cane—and when used in this brine recipe, the sugars in the syrup give the turkey a beautiful, caramelized, and crispy skin.
If you have time, the best next step after brining is to remove the bird from the brine and place it uncovered in your refrigerator for another 24 to 36 hours. Allowing the bird to sit breast side up for that amount of time enables the skin to form what we call a pellicle or “the crispy.”
How to roast a brined turkey
When you’re ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator two hours in advance, and preheat your oven to 350 F. Stuff the turkey with lemon, onion, garlic, and thyme.
Next, you’re going to truss the turkey, and pour a small amount of oil over the breast and rub all over the bird evenly. This will give it a nice even color when it cooks. Season with salt and black pepper, then pop it in the oven for 2 – 3 hours, until the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh is 160 F.
Scroll on for the recipe, and leave a rating, comment, and tag us on Instagram @camillestyles if you happen to give this turkey a strive!