Chef Kurt Has Your Secrets for Delicious Turkey
Michigan State University Senior Executive Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski says you want to brine your turkey, don't put stuffing in the cavity of the bird and you GOTTA let the meat rest for about 30 minutes after you pull it out of the oven. Unless you want to wreck Thanksgiving. Again.
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, then put some apple slices, thyme, parsley, maybe some onions inside it.
Preheat oven to 350, rub two Tablespoons of olive oil onto the turkey and pepper it. If you're cooking the turkey with a couple of strips of bacon on it to add some fat, cook breast up, but if you're not using the bacon, cook hour and a half breast-down, uncovered, then flip it up, cover with parchment paper, then lightly wrap with foil. Baste with pan liquids every 15-20 minutes.Depending on size of the bird, 4-5 hours total cooking time.
Your bird is done when the center of the thigh meat reaches 165 degrees.