By Chef de Cuisine, Stacy Johnston
Here’s a handy tip from a professional to a home cook:
Bring your turkey out of the fridge for about 1 hour before putting it in the oven. Heat transfers more easily through a room temperature bird and will give you a more consistent and juicy product! Also, let your turkey rest after the oven for at least 30 minutes. This gives the meat a chance to reabsorb all the moisture before you carve it.
Serves up to 8 people
- 12-20 lb Organic, free run Turkey (or Chicken)
- 1 cup Kosher Salt
- ½ cup Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 tbsp Brown Sugar (or organic Cane)
- 4 Bay Leaves
- ¼ cup black peppercorns
- 8 springs Thyme
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 4 springs Wild Sage
- ½ lb butter
- Wild sage
- Cracked pepper
- Remove the turkey from it’s packaging and set in the bottom of a large stock pot or bucket. As long as you are able to cover the turkey with liquid, you should be ok.
- I like to use a ratio of 4 quarts of water to 1 cup of salt. This recipe can be adapted to any amount of water as long as you use this ratio. If you need more water to cover your turkey, mix 4 cups of water with ¼ cup of salt and add to the mixture.
- In a pot, combine 1 quart of water, 1 cup of salt, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Bring this mixture to boil and once all of the salt has dissolved, take off heat. Add remaining 3 quarts of water, let cool to lukewarm temperature.
- Crush garlic and bruise herbs with the back of your knife before adding them to your brine.
- Once the brine is room temperature and won’t cook your bird, pour brine over turkey. Be sure the breast and legs are covered, but don’t worry too much if the tips of the legs are uncovered. If the turkey floats, put a clean, heavy plate on top to submerge it.
- Cover pot with lid and/or plastic wrap and REFRIGERATE from 12-24 hours. Stacy suggests keeping the turkey in for the full 24 hours to optimize flavour absorption.
- Remove your turkey from the brine, rinse and set on a cooking grate to dry. Stacy usually pats the turkey down with a paper towel so the skin is nice and dry.
- Carefully peel back the skin from the bottom of the turkey breast. You should be able to get your whole hand underneath without tearing the skin.
- Cut the butter into small cubes, bruise the sage and carefully lay under the skin and on top of the breast. Don’t be shy — fat is where the flavour is at.
- Taking your favourite cooking oil (canola is recommended), rub it all over the skin of the turkey and season to your liking –remember, your turkey has been brined with salt so you won’t need as much as you think.
- Roast at 385 F until the skin has become golden and beautiful, reduce to 300 F and cook until a digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 160 F. (Always test between the wing and the breast so that beautiful golden skin isn’t ruined). Let cool and carve.
Prepare for a juicy, flavorful and delicious turkey!
- Brining your turkey makes it juicy and delicious — it also makes the pan drippings taste amazing. Roast your turkey over onions, carrots and celery and when it comes out of the oven, drain into a pot. Skim off fat, add your favorite thickener and get an extra delicious pan gravy.
- Remember – your turkey is a big animal. It will continue to cook as it comes out of the oven. Taking it out of the oven at 160 will ensure that it is cooked safely but also that it doesn’t dry out.
- Just you, this season? That’s great! Instead of a turkey, buy a whole chicken, cut the recipe in half and enjoy an amazing, solo treat. Also, chicken salad sandwiches are pretty great the next day.