The recipe below is adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Brined and Roasted Turkey 2001 recipe. It’s one of our favorite recipes for Thanksgiving Day. Keep an eye on the food thermometer inserted into turkey thigh for doneness and for moist turkey, too.(Thanks for sharing your turkey recipe, Chef Lagasse.)
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Sunday 3 p.m. — The big turkey thaw begins. We started thawing our 13.2 pound frozen turkey in the refrigerator. It takes about 2-3 days to thaw frozen turkeys safely in the refrigerator. A microbiologist in our household says it’s the safest method.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – We rinsed the refrigerated turkey with water and removed the giblets inside the cavity. (Our first turkey roast included giblets, but not in the gravy.) So remember to remove the giblets before roasting your bird. Refrigerate the raw giblets before you boil them and chop up to make the gravy on Thanksgiving morning.
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. – Make brine in large clean plastic bag, container or pot. Combine 3/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup salt (We ran out of salt and substituted soy sauce.), 2 oranges and 2 lemons cut into quarters, 1 cup brown sugar, 4 sprigs of rosemary, 6 springs of thyme and 2 gallons of cold water (16 cups water). Put turkey in brine mixture. Cover and brine until you’re ready to roast the turkey. A few hours or overnight brining is okay.
Refrigerate turkey in brining mixture.
Thanksgiving 8 a.m. —Remove turkey from brine and rinse well with cold water. Season with salt and pepper inside cavity and all over the turkey. Loosely stuff bird with a few pieces of celery, onion, carrot, orange, lemon (all cut 2-3 inch pieces), 2 bay leaves and 3 sprigs of thyme.
Put stuffed turkey in roasting pan. Brush turkey all over with melted butter.
Thanksgiving 8:30 a.m. –Roast turkey breast side down and uncovered for 1 hour at 325 degrees. If convection oven roasting, turkey cooks faster in our oven. Baste turkey with turkey broth or melted butter every 30 minutes while roasting.
Start cooking turkey broth ( 1 coarsely chopped carrot, onion, celery each, 1 bay leaf, 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, 3 cups of turkey or low-salt chicken broth, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. (We substituted 2 tablespoons butter or margarine for oil). Heat to a boil and lower heat to simmer. Add more water, if needed, while broth simmers. Turkey broth also is used to baste the turkey while roasting.
For gravy, start cooking turkey giblets and liver in enough water to cover them. Boil and lower heat to simmer on low heat. Add more water, if needed while simmering.
For stuffing, start chopping and combining ingredients of your favorite stuffing recipe. We mixed 1 package or box of dried cornbread stuffing, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 pound cooked mild pork sausage, 1 chopped apple, 1/2 cup cran-raisins. Moisten with 1 can chicken broth. Bake in separate pan at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes until stuffing browned slightly.
Thanksgiving 9:30 a.m. — Turn turkey over breast side up. Roast uncovered and baste every 30 minutes with turkey broth, melted butter or both. If turkey is browning too fast, put a tent of foil loosely over the turkey. Insert cooking thermometer in turkey thigh/leg without touching the bone.
Total baking time for this 13.2 lb turkey is 3 hours. (Estimate 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees).
Check for doneness with thermometer inserted in thickest part of turkey thigh/leg. For poultry, internal temperature should be 165 degrees for a cooked turkey.
Thanksgiving 10:15 a.m. – A quick run to grocery store. Forgot the apple for stuffing.
Thanksgiving 10:45 a.m – Turkey done! Convention roasting cooked this turkey in 2 hours 15 minutes –faster than we expected. Let turkey sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before carving.
Make turkey gravy with chopped cooked gizzards, deboned cooked turkey neck meat, 4 cups turkey broth, 4 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup flour, salt & pepper to taste. If needed, thicken gravy with 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water to make a paste.
Heat up rolls in the oven. Make the green beans.
Thanksgiving 11:30 a.m. – Time to eat! Wishing you joy and peace with family and friends today. There is much to be thankful for —good health, family, friends, a roof over our heads and God providing our every need in good and bad times.
Be good to yourself, family and friends. For their benefit and your health, don’t drink and drive today and this holiday season.