First let me apologize for taking so long to post. We have been very busy the last few weeks and are now entertaining relatives for Christmas.
I starting using this recipe for roast turkey about 7 years ago and it is my favorite. It does have a few more steps but it is well worth the extra effort. You will be rewarded with a juicy, flavorful and tender bird, as long as you don't overcook it. The key to a juicy turkey is to brine. For an explanation on how and why this works go to this site.
My siblings will notice right away that I fail to stuff the turkey like our father always did and they may very well disown me. We all have fond memories of sneaking a forkful of stuffing from the roasting bird while it was cooking but I prefer to cook it separately. The reason for this is if you cook the stuffing to a safe temperature, the bird will most likely be overcooked. Stuffing a turkey also increases the amount of time it takes to cook it. Sorry family!
1 (14-16 pound) turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 gallon apple cider
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 gallon (or more) iced water
1 apple, quartered
1/2 onion, quartered
1 cup water
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 fresh sage leaves
Combine kosher salt, brown sugar and apple cider in a large stock pot, stir until dissolved. Add peppercorns and iced water. Submerge the turkey, thawed and cleaned, in the salt solution. Add more water if necessary to fully cover the turkey. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Turn turkey over half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion and cup of water in a 2 cup size measuring cup. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Remove turkey from the brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine. Place turkey on a roasting rack, in a wide low roasting pan. Pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped apple and onion along with the water into the cavity of the turkey. Add rosemary and sage leaves. Tuck back wings and truss the legs together. Coat with a little vegetable oil. Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with a double layer of aluminum foil. Insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound turkey should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.
A three-year-old gave this reaction to her Christmas dinner: "I don't like the turkey, but I like the bread he ate." ~Author Unknown
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