1. 1 raw turkey (can be frozen, but you must start thawing it 2-3 days before Thanksgiving)
2. A ton of kosher salt
3. A ton of butter or duck fat
4. Black pepper
5. Canola Oil
6. Cinnamon Stick
7. 1 Apple, halved
8. 1 Onion, halved
9. Fresh Rosemary, thyme, sage
10. Your best beer
11. Your best white wine
12. A very large plastic bag
13. Large roasting pan
1. Dry brine your turkey 2 days before Thanksgiving while allowing him to thaw out in the fridge. Wash the turkey, removing the neck and organs (but save them for gravy), and dry the bird very well. Next, turn your huge-ass plastic bag (must be air-tight once closed) inside out and set aside. So as not to cross-contaminate your salt, put the salt you’ll be using for the brine in a bowl separate from the salt you always use. Rub kosher salt all over the outside of the turkey and also underneath the skin on the breast. Be very gentle when peeling the skin away from the breast meat as you don’t want it to tear.
2. Wash your hands and grab the inside-out bag, wrapping it around the turkey so once the bird is in the bag, it’s right-side out again. Tie the sucker shut (tight) and place the turkey breast side up in the fridge until Thanksgiving.
3. On Thanksgiving preheat your oven to 500 F. Take your turkey out of his bag and rinse all the salt off of him. Dry him very, very, very well again and set aside.
4. In a microwave-safe container (I just use a piece of tupperware), microwave your halved onion and apple along with your cinnamon stick together with some water for about 3 minutes until soft.
5. Prepare to season the bird, butter and oil him up, and fill the cavity – aka have your butter and oil ready to go along with salt and pepper in specific bowls (so you don’t cross contaminate), and your onion, apple, cinny stick, and all your herbs. Make sure your roasting pan is out and ready to go and your twine is on-hand to truss.
6. Salt and pepper the turkey very generously (but be prepared to move fast after this with your butter as the salt brings out moisture which repels the fat from sticking) outside and inside the cavity as well. Like at least 3 handfuls of salt. Seriously. Massage the salt and pepper into the turkey.
7. Butter the entire turkey, massaging into the breast as best as you can without breaking the skin. Insert onion, apple, cinnamon stick, and a bunch of fresh herbs into the cavity. If you’re making my Sage Stuffing Recipe (it’s coming out at 10:00 a.m.) def use some sage!
8. Tie the legs together using twine. Watch this video on how to truss a turkey.
9. Create a shield for the breast of your turkey using aluminum foil (this is Alton Brown’s genius idea) and set aside.
10. Drizzle canola oil all over the outside of the bird so he is completely oiled up. Leave no part oil-free. Place your turkey breast side up in your roasting dish and into a 500 F oven for 30 minutes.
11. After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 and allow the bird to finish cooking for another 2 to 3 hours (depending on the size). Add some beer and wine to the bottom of the pan.
12. I wouldn’t recommend using the pop-out thermometer (generally included in most turkeys these days) to indicate total done-ness of the turkey. If the pop-out thermometer is in the breast and it pops out, the breast meat is done but the legs will definitely NOT be (they always take longer, just like on a chicken). If you’re super brave you can remove the turkey from the oven at this time and remove the legs from the rest of the body and put them back in the oven to continue cooking without over-doing the breast. If you choose to do this, simply set the breast and carcass aside on a cooling rack (over a cookie) sheet and let rest. Your thermometer should be in the deepest part of the thigh without touching bone, and should reach 160 before you determine your legs are done. 160 is basically the magic number. Hit it and pull your bird out. Go to 170/175 like the Health Department recommends and you’re going to have a dry turkey.
12. Allow your turkey to rest for 20 minutes minimally no matter what. If you’ve removed the legs or chosen to keep them on, still let all the parts rest to allow the moisture to be sucked back in. Simply pop the bird back into the oven momentarily before serving to heat him right back up.
13. SAVE THE BROWN BITS from your pan for gravy (recipe coming out at 11:00 a.m!).
Time: 30 minutes to prepare the dry brine, about 4.5 hours start to finish for preparing and cooking the turkey
Serves: Depends on how big your turkey is!