Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey can be intimidating. As a new bride I had the honor of making the family turkey for the first time. With knees knocking, I actually made a practice turkey to make sure I would be able to handle this task. My turkey has been perfected over 30 years and here it is..

The newest step is to brine the turkey. I have used the salt brines but I prefer to brine my turkey in a fruit nectar. This year I am going with pear. Combine the pear nectar, thyme, sage, bay leaves, garlic cloves, kosher salt, peppercorns and brown sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar has melted. Cool completely.

Remove all bags from the turkey, saving for later and place in turkey breast side down in a brining bag. Pour brining mixture into bag and place Mr. Turkey in a cooler filled with ice… he sits in the garage over night.

Next morning, I pull him out and rinse him completely. Drying him thoroughly with paper towels. Next I stuff the turkey. Loosely place the cooled stuffing in the neck cavity and the underside (Butt). Close the back flap (either with sticks or sew it shut.

Place turkey breast side up in roasting pan. Tie the front legs together with twine. Rub all over with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

Bake at 325 degrees for 5 hours. We always have a 22 to 24 pound turkey so cooking time will vary with size of the turkey. Now I baste the turkey every 30 to 45 minutes, with 32 oz. of chicken stock heated very low on the stove with the turkey neck in the stock. After about three hours, I cover the turkey loosely with foil.

Once the thermometer reaches 165 in the thigh, remove the turkey. Cover very tightly with aluminum foil for 20 to 30 minutes to let the turkey rest. Even with a double oven , I have dishes to finish in the turkey oven.

Transfer to a decorated serving platter and you have made the perfect turkey!!!  I can never decide if it is better to decorate the turkey or the cut up turkey platter. 


Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Pear Thyme Brine

8 cup(s) pear nectar
1 small bunch fresh thyme, divided
4 large fresh sage sprigs
3 fresh bay leaves
3/4 cup(s) kosher salt
1/2 cup(s) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon(s) coarsely ground black peppercorns
6 clove(s) garlic, crushed

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