A holiday meal can bring a large crowd to cook for. Don’t let a dry turkey crash the party. Follow these tips to serve a juicy moist bird and to be a star cook for a day.
First, choose a larger bird. Its mass will help it retain juice, and almost everyone likes turkey leftovers anyway.
The rule of thumb for defrosting is 24 hours in the refrigerator for every five pounds of bird. Move it from the freezer to the refrigerator at least three days before you plan to brine, which should be one day before you cook it. The 24 hours of brining will count as the fourth day of defrosting.
To thaw put it in your refrigerator sitting in a roasting pan, or if you can’t fit the pan in at least sitting on top of a dish towel to catch the condensation. You now have the three days of defrosting to gather the ingredients and tools you’ll need to prepare your turkey to be the juiciest, moistest turkey your guest will ever have. Here’s what you’ll need:
a food safe plastic bag large enough to fit the turkey (specialty cooking stores sell brining bags, or you can get extra large food storage bags at any grocery store)
2 cups of kosher salt
2 gallons of water (room temperature)
8 large oranges
1 cup orange juice
1 cup chicken stock
unsalted butter, herbs, olive oil
The fourth morning out of the freezer remove the neck, gizzards etc. that are stuffed in the cavity. Wash the turkey well then set it back in the roasting pan breast side up. Find the edge of the skin and push your hands under it, loosening it from the body as far back and down the sides as you can. Slice the oranges and lemons in halves and slide some open side facing down under the skin and throw some in the cavity. Move the bird into the brining bag with the open cavity at the top. Put the bag in a roasting pan so you don’t have a spillage disaster in your refrigerator. Pour the kosher salt, water and orange juice into the cavity and around the turkey then carefully place it in the refrigerator for a day.
Take the turkey out and throw away the used citrus. Rinse the turkey again. Put it breast side up in your roasting pan. Pour the chicken stock into the pan with the unused fresh citrus halves. Spread a butter herb compound under the skin, drizzle some olive oil on top.
Roast your at 350 watching it carefully, it should become a dark golden brown, not burnt. If it starts to burn, cover it with aluminum foil until done.
Sit your bird on the counter for 20 minutes before carving. Serve it and accept the complements.