Next week we will wake up to parades, move onto football, and take part in an amazing meal with friends and family. Thanksgiving 2012 is here! The centerpiece of the day is the turkey, so with that in mind I thought I would share some pro tips on baking the best bird your guests have yet to taste! Be aware of the time, as you will need plenty of it before actually putting the turkey in the oven to bake. You will want to start preparations the day before.
- Preparing your turkey ahead of time can make a world of difference. Elizabeth Prueitt of Bar Tartine suggests a mixture of 1 cup of kosher salt, ½ cup light brown sugar, 2 Tbs of crushed juniper berries, and 2 tsp of crushed allspice berries.
- In a large stockpot, add these ingredients to 1 gallon of broth and cook over medium high heat until boiling. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Several pros suggest placing the brine into a 5 gallon container, along with one gallon of ice water. Next carefully place the turkey, cleaned out and dry, breast side down, into the brine, making sure the cavity is filled.
- Carefully set the turkey into the refrigerator allowing the turkey to bathe overnight, 8 – 16 hours.
- When it is time to bake, remove from the brine (which should then be discarded), pat the turkey dry and place it into it’s baking pan.
- Don’t put that turkey in the oven right away! According to Thomas Keller of Per Se, it’s best to allow the turkey to come down to room temperature. To give you an idea, a 20-pound turkey should sit for about 2 hours before going into the oven.
- Tom Colicchio of Craft says that the secret to a perfect turkey is to start the turkey at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, then to turn down the temperature to 325 degrees for the remainder of the baking time. He also says to baste the turkey often, every 10 minutes, and use lots of butter and herbs (I like this guy). Check out his recipe!
- Finally, let the turkey rest about 20 minutes before slicing. Yum! Your guests are going to feel so honored.
Do not forget dessert! Yes, the turkey may be the main attraction, but dessert also gets top billing in my book. By all means make sure to have pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream. And why stop at one dessert? I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding and I am thinking that it sounds too good not to pass up.
You’re only a week away from turkey prep time. I hope I helped you a bit with creating your amazing holiday menu. From your friendly Site Selection Specialist – Jill Stone!
*Thank you to Kiri Tannenbaum for the image!