MSU Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowsi doesn't want you looking bad on Turkey Day. He offers up some great Thanksgiving Day cooking tips to save your dinner. He called in this morning and gave up the down low. Click play below to hear the conversation.

Turkey Brine Solution

1 gallon of water

½ c. honey

1½ c. kosher salt (if you are using regular salt only use about ¾ of a cup)

2 qt. vegetable of chicken stock

¼ c. whole black peppercorns

12 bay leaves

½ bunch of fresh thyme

½ bunch of fresh Italian parsley

3 lemons cut in half


Put all ingredients into a soup pot and bring up to a boil. Shut off and let cool down to room temperature or colder. *this can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Put your turkey in a brining bag or a 5 gallon bucket and pour the liquid over the bird, making sure the bird stays submerged in the liquid. Let the turkey brine for a minimum of 6 hours, up to 14 hours.

Remove the turkey from the solution, rinse off with cold water and pat dry with paper towel.


Turkey Gravy


8 cups turkey stock (chicken broth and pan drippings combined)

1 stick unsalted butter

¾ c. flour

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T. apple cider vinegar


Pour pan juices through a fine-mesh strainer into measuring cup (do not clean roasting pan), then skim off and discard fat.

Put the roasting pan across 2 burners, then add 1 c. chicken broth and deglaze roasting pan by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, for 1 minute. Remove from the stove and pour through a strainer into the measuring cup containing pan juices. Add enough chicken broth to pan juices to bring total to 8 cups and reserve.

Melt butter in a 4-quart heavy sauce pot over medium heat then stir in flour. Cook over moderate heat, whisking, for 5-7 minutes or until the mixture has a bit of a nutty aroma. Add your reserved stock mixture in a stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, then bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Season gravy with salt and pepper, then stir in cider vinegar.


Aromatics for the Turkey

1 apple cut in ¼’s

½ of an onion large dice

2 stalks of celery large dice

2 carrots large diced

1 cinnamon stick

1 c. of chicken broth

½ bunch of thyme

½ bunch of Italian parsley


Take all ingredients and mix together. Pouring the solution into the turkey cavity while it is the roasting pan.


Cooking the Turkey

2 T. canola oil for rubbing the turkey down

1 t. black pepper

¾ # your favorite bacon


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Rub the oil over the turkey, season with pepper, and then lay strips of bacon on the white meat areas of the turkey (you may need to put toothpicks to hold the bacon in place).

Put the turkey in the oven for 1 ½ hrs. Remove briefly to put a piece of parchment paper and lightly wrap with tin foil. Baste the turkey with the liquid that is in the pan. Back into the oven for an additional 2 ½ to 3 hours, or until the temperature of the thigh/dark meat is at 165 degrees.

When the turkey is done, transfer it to a carving board and let it rest about 20-25 minutes before carving it up. Remove bacon strips and any toothpicks that you had holding the bacon in place. Serve up the crispy bacon on the side with the turkey.

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