December 21, 2009

What's Cookin': Turkey Dinner!

Before Thanksgiving we bought a turkey which, until Saturday night, had been sitting in the fridge ready to be eaten. I don't know how, but it had stayed frozen. I had procrastinated about cooking it because I had an incredible fear of cooking a whole giant bird in the oven. I've never done it before. And it wouldn't fit in my Crock pot (which is stupid-proof for cooking) so that idea was out. I was afraid I would either over or under cook it. When I bought those 6 chickens last week Ben told me that I had to cook the turkey before I did anything with them. So we did. It turned out perfect! Better than perfect! I put it in a brine Saturday night and let it sit, which gave it amazing flavor and made it so juicy. Ben and I were both incredibly impressed. We are thinking that next year maybe we will do our own Thanksgiving on Wednesday. I had to get a picture of the meat because Ben attacked it to try it out before I remembered to take a picture of the whole thing.

The Best Turkey Ever
1 Turkey (about 12 pounds) - 16.91 ($2.00 off coupon!)
1 quart apple juice - 1.26
3 quarts water - .00
1 Cup kosher salt - .32
1 Cup brown sugar - .42
5 cinnamon sticks - .70
1 Tbs red pepper flakes - .20

In a giant pot large enough to hold the whole bird, combine all but 2 quarts of water on high heat. Heat until the salt and sugar has melted and the mixture just starts to froth. (The recipe said boil, but I was impatient). Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the bird in the liquid and add the rest of the water, or enough to cover it completely. Place the pot in the fridge over night. Ours sat in the brine for about 16 hours. If you don't have room in a pot, use a large bucket and just add the liquid after it has cooled. If you don't have room in the fridge, add a large amount of ice to the pot/bucket and that should keep it for a couple of hours.

About a half an hour before you are ready to put it in the oven, remove the bird from the brine, pat dry, and let sit for awhile to allow some of the extra liquid to drip out. I placed my cooling rack over the sink and let it sit on that to drip dry. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Place the turkey in the oven, breast side down (this keeps them juicy), and cook for about 3 - 3 1/2 hours. It's done when a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees, and the breast should be about 160 degrees. This was about 3 hours and 15 minutes for our gas oven. Remove and let sit for about 20 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Carve and devour!

We served this with about a pound of mashed potatoes with gravy (about 2.00 with milk and butter), two cans of green beans (1.00), a box of stuffing (1.43), and leftover biscuits from Mum's Christmas Party (.00).

Total: 24.24

Variations: I got the recipe for the brine from the roast chicken book I got at the library. And of course I changed it a bit because I can't leave things alone. It called for equal parts juice and water, but I didn't want to use all our juice so I decreased it by half and added extra water. I also added in the red pepper flakes. I'm not sure if they really made a difference but holy cow that turkey was good.

This was a very expensive meal for us because of the turkey. But this was sort of our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner combined. All four of us ate until we were stuffed - Ty kept walking around rubbing his belly which was horribly cute - and we have a TON of leftovers. Ben's finally happy because we have turkey leftovers in the house, and I'm happy because I got over my fear of cooking a whole turkey!

1 comment:

NetRaptor said...

Oh man, that sounds SO good. I might have to try brining a turkey now.

...heck, now I'm just plain hungry for turkey. :-)

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