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How to create a traditional brined and roasted turkey

Stacy and Jonathan Edgerton share recipes and DIY projects on their Instagram account, 'The Gentleman Farmer in Maine.'

BOWDOIN, Maine — Allow 12 to 14 hours before roasting for the turkey to brine. 

Ingredients for Brining: (double for two turkeys, etc.)

1 Cup Kosher salt 

8 Cups of water 

3 Tablespoons Bell’s poultry seasoning 

4-6 Leaves fresh sage 

2-3 Sprigs of fresh thyme 

2-3 Sprigs of fresh rosemary 

One FROZEN 10-15 pound turkey - unwrapped and with the neck and giblet package intact. 

Brining:

Bring the 8 cups of water and brining ingredients to a boil in a large sauce pan and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (until the salt is fully dissolved). Add 4 cups cold water to bring it to room temperature. While the brine is simmering, bleach and clean a cooler that is a little larger than your turkey (for two turkeys use a large camping cooler). Place the frozen turkey in the cooler and pour the brine around it. Add up to 4 quarts of cold water as needed to ensure the turkey is completely submerged. Weigh the turkey down with a brick or large can to keep it submerged. Allow the turkey to rest in the brine for 12 to 14 hours.  I usually start the brining in the evening and take the bird out of the brine in the morning.   

Roasting Prep: 

Rinse the turkey well under cool water. There may still be some ice in the center cavity. This will dissolve, allowing you to remove the neck and packet containing the giblets (heart, liver, etc.), which are also now nicely brined! I boil up the giblets along with some more herbs and poultry seasoning for use in making the gravy. (I discard the liver as I don’t care for the flavor it imparts.) We mince the meat and add to the gravy as well.) After rinsing your turkey, place it breast side up in a pan that is not much larger than the bird itself. I spray my pan with non-stick spray in advance. 

Ingredients for Roasting (double for two turkeys):

1 Stick salted butter (1/2 cup) - melted 

3 Tablespoons Bell’s poultry seasoning 

1 Stalk celery 

1 Medium onion 

1 Leek - cleaned 

4-6 Leaves fresh sage

2-3 Sprigs of fresh thyme 

2-3 Sprigs of fresh rosemary 

2 Cups chicken broth 

Pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove upper racks from the oven, leaving only the bottom rack. Sprinkle two tablespoons of the poultry seasoning into the cavity of the bird. Coarsely chop the celery, onion and leek into half inch pieces and stuff into the turkey with the herbs. Sprinkle any remaining onion, leek and celery into the pan around the bird. 

Pour the melted butter over the turkey, then sprinkle the skin with one tablespoon of poultry seasoning. Pour the 2 cups of broth into the pan around the turkey.  Cover loosely with aluminum foil and put into a 500 degree oven with the legs in the back of the oven.

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Move the bird around after 10 minutes so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  Roast for another one hour to one hour and 30 minutes depending on the weight (see roasting chart below).  Remove the foil and roast for another 10 - 15 minutes to brown the skin. 

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Remove from oven and move the leg around. If it wiggles loosely then it is likely done. Insert your thermometer into the bird where the thigh meets the body. Temperature in the thickest area should be a minimum of165 degrees.  If in doubt, and you don’t have a thermometer, remove a leg and check to make sure the juices run clear (no pinkish tinge).

Remove the bird to a serving platter and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. This will allow the juice to set in the meat. 

Use the pan drippings and juices for a wonderfully rich and perfectly seasoned gravy! Remember it is already salty so taste before you add more!

Roasting times for turkey at 500 degrees stuff only with these ingredients. (If using convection oven - decrease time by approximately 1/5th. If stuffing with bread stuffing increase cooking time by 30 minutes)

weight            cooking time total (including after removing foil)

9 pounds        1 hour, 15 minutes

12 pounds        1 hour, 20 minutes

15 pounds        2 hours    

20 pounds        3 hours

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