Thanksgiving – The Turkey {Last Year}

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Do you watch Food Network?  I sure do!  I got started watching it when I was in college.  No, I wasn’t privileged to have it while I actually went to school, I was actually home on Christmas break.  I was at my parents house bored off my butt and somehow stumbled across Rachael Ray making Mexican Lasagna.

I have been an on again off again want to be chef/cook.  My Grandma J started on my cousin & me when we were younger to try and develop a love for cooking.  I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it.  I love to eat but at times I’m way to impatient to actually cook.  Around the time I went to college I was starting to develop a love for it again.  Then I ran across Rachael Ray.  Her method made cooking seem so easy!  Now she lives in New York and even though she says you can get everything in her recipes at the local grocery store, she hasn’t lived in SW MO obviously, but she helped fuel my passion for cooking.

So move forward a bit.  On my mom’s side of the family, starting about high school when my grandparents moved from the country to the city, my aunt who lives in Southern OK started hosting Thanksgiving and my mom started hosting Christmas dinners.

Since my passion for cooking really started to thrive, I have wanted to make a Turkey.  We don’t eat Turkey’s for Christmas dinner, so I never got my chance to make one until last year.  My parents and my family decided we were going to have Thanksgiving here and I jumped at the chance to host it!

I got to make a turkey!  My mom thought I was nuts for wanting to and being excited but I didn’t care.

In 2010, Pioneer Woman had a throw down with Bobby Flay.  I saw her turkey recipe and knew that if I ever made a turkey, by golly I was using hers!

Thanksgiving 2011, my dream came true!  I got to make a turkey and I used PW’s recipe!

The turkey was brining away

I had hubby move that 17 lb turkey for me!  It was heavy
After his water bath.
Sweetheart wanted to help, so I let her zest the orange for the butter rub.
schmearing (technical term) the butter all over the bird.
Hello Yummy Goodness!
Also taught her how to set the table.
She took such pride in her table.  I’m proud of her too!
Happy Thanksgiving!

PW’s Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

2 gallons of Water
2 cups Apple Juice
1 1/2 cups Kosher salt
2 cups Brown Sugar
5 Cloves Garlic, crushed
5 Bay leaves
4 tbsp Black Peppercorns
2 tbsp Dried Rosemary
3 Oranges, peeled, white pith removed, skin roughly chopped
1 (20-lb) fresh Turkey
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
3 tbsp minced fresh Rosemary Leaves
3 tbsp chopped Orange Zest

Combine the water, apple juice, salt, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, dried rosemary, and orange peel in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat immediately, cover, and allow mixture to come to room temperature.  Cool mixture in the fridge until you’re ready.

To brine the turkey, remove the turkey from wrapper, remove interior bags (set aside; refrigerate), and rinse turkey thoroughly under cool water.

Place the turkey into a plastic brining bag or a very large pot.

Pour the cooled brine mixture over the top, adding extra cold water if you need more to completely cover the turkey.  Seal the bag or cover the pot and allow the turkey to brine in the refrigerator for 16-24 hours before roasting.

Before roasting, remove the turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold water.  Then soak in a sink full of fresh water for 15-20 minutes.  Pat dry.  Discard brine.  (This soaking process will decrease the likelihood of too-salty gravy).

Preheat the oven 275 degrees F.

Truss the bird and place in breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan.  Cover the turkey tightly with heavy-duty foil.  Make sure it’s entirely covered (cover over the bottom edges of the pan).  Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes per pound (a 20 lb turkey will roast for about 3 1/2 hours).

Remove the turkey from oven and increase the temperature to 375 degrees F.  Remove the aluminum foil and set aside.  Mix the softened butter with the rosemary and orange peel and rub all over the skin of the turkey, covering every single inch of the skin.  Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh, near the hip joint.  Place the turkey, uncovered, back into the oven.  Continue roasting the turkey, basting with butter every 30 minutes, until the thermometer registers 170 degrees F and until the juices are no longer pink.

Remove from the oven and cover with foil until you are ready to carve and serve.  Reserve pan juices to make gravy.

Cooks Note: This is enough for a 20 lb fresh turkey.  You can decrease the quantity for a smaller bird.

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