FOR THE BRINE
1 each turkey (20 to 22 pounds)
5 gallons ice water
2 pounds kosher salt
8 ounces Creole seasoning
FOR THE TURKEY
4 ounces butter, melted
2 ounces kosher salt
2 ounces cracked black pepper
1 cup white onions, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
1 ounce sage leaves, chopped
1 ounce thyme leaves, chopped
1 ounce parsley leaves, chopped
2 ounces rosemary leaves, chopped
FOR THE BRINE:
1. In a large cooler, mix ice water, kosher salt and creole seasoning together.
2. Submerge turkey in brine for 12 - 24 hours before cooking.
3. Before preparing the turkey, drain all excess water.
FOR THE TURKEY:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Using a pastry brush, coat turkey, inside and out, with the melted butter.
3. Season turkey very heavily and evenly with kosher salt and pepper inside and out.
4. Fill the cavity of the turkey with onions, garlic, celery, and herbs.
5. Place turkey in a roasting pan on a raised grate or screen so the turkey is 1" to 2" off the bottom of the roasting pan.
6. Place turkey into the preheated oven.
NOTE: The reason for the high oven temperature is to rapidly brown and crisp the skin of the bird. This will seal in all of the natural juices and keep the meat moist.
As the turkey browns, the natural fat will begin to pool under the grate. This mix of butter and fat will be used as a basting liquid for the rest of the cooking time.
7. Once the turkey starts to brown, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
8. At this point, CAREFULLY tip the pan and allow the butter and juices to pool on the side of the roasting pan closest to you. Using a metal ladle or spoon, collect the juices and baste the bird. In order to properly baste, as much of the butter and fat as possible should be collected with the ladle and poured over the skin surface of the turkey. It may take 3 or 4 ladles to fully coat the bird. The most important part is to make sure that all of the skin surface is shiny from basting. Baste every 30 to 45 minutes.
9. Allow the turkey to cook at 350 degrees until the turkey is 160 degrees between the leg and thigh.
10. The turkey will be done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160 degrees. Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes before carving.
One of my big secrets is to cook the turkey earlier in the day or the day before and slightly undercook it, bone out the turkey and then use the turkey bones for the gravy.
To reheat the turkey for serving: After you bone the breast and thighs, carefully slice the breast and thigh in 1/4" slices, keeping the meat together for the presentation. Transfer sliced meat onto a roasting pan, add 2 cups of warm chicken or turkey stock and approximately 2 ounces of butter, cut into slices and placed around the turkey. Reheat turkey in a 350 degree oven for approximately 10-12 minutes or until turkey thigh is completely done. Place oven on broil, crispen the skin for approximately 2-3 minutes. Do not walk away at this point. Remove turkey and serve.
DRIED CRANBERRY, CHIPOTLE - PORT WINE CHUTNEY
2 cups dried cranberries
4 cups ruby red port wine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 each cinnamon stick
1 each chipotle chili, stemmed and seeded
1 each orange, zested and juice freshly squeezed
1. In small sauce pot combine cranberries, port wine, sugar and cinnamon stick and chipotle chili. Simmer until cranberries are plump and syrup thickens.
2. Remove from heat and allow cranberries to cool.
3. Once cooled, remove cinnamon stick and chipotle chili. Add orange juice and zest.
This can be served warm or cool. Great for desserts as well as for roasted meats.
QUICK CHERRY JELLY CORNBREAD
2 boxes cornbread mix (your favorite), follow directions on the box
1 cup cherry jelly
1.In a mixer mix, cornbread batter by following the directions on the box. Pour cornbread batter into a buttered pan.
2. Once you poured the batter into a pan, Swirl the jelly into the batter.
3. Follow the directions on the box for baking.
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