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Ric Orlando's Turkey 101

The secret is in the brining!

When you are done frying, grilling and otherwise messing around with that big bird, try my tested, tried, and true method for brining and roasting! Brining and the high/low cooking technique is the trick to making the perfect turkey.

Ric's Turkey Brine

(You should ratio up to make enough to cover the bird entirely.)

Use a cooler to hold the turkey so that you can brine it over night. Clean it really well and line it with a trash bag or food-safe plastic if you are squeamish. Put four frozen icepacks or ziplock bags of ice in the cooler and cover to make sure it stays cold enough. (Using a really big cooler? Increase ice accordingly to keep that bird at a safe temperature.)

1 gallon cold water     
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar         
3-4 allspice berries
8-10 peppercorns     
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon dry thyme 
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Stir the salt into the water to dissolve. Add all other ingredients and you've made the brine. Cover the turkey completely with brine for as short as two hours or as long as 24 hours. Remove from brine and dry that bird well.

Ric Orlando's Basic Turkey Roasting Recipe

Massage the turkey with melted butter, olive oil, duck fat or grapeseed oil before seasoning. Then rub turkey with the following mix. You may not use all of it, but this rub makes for great skin!

1/4 cup kosher salt     
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika 
2 tablespoons dry thyme
1 tablespoons sugar     
1 tablespoon dry sage, crumbled or "rubbed"
Mix well and massage into the entire bird.

Fill the cavity with the following:
1 Apple, split in half 
1 Lemon, split in half 
1 onion, split in half
1 head of garlic, split in half
2-3 spring each of thyme, sage and parsley

Let turkey stand at room temperature for 30 minutes minutes before cooking.

Preheat oven to 500 F. Have a quick read thermometer and a kitchen timer handy.
This method should take about 12 minutes per pound or about 4 total hours for a 20 pound bird.

Put turkey in a roasting pan set directly in the bottom of the oven–not on a rack or mirepoix.
Set timer for 30 minutes. When timer goes off, check turkey. You are looking for a golden brown skin and a nice sizzle in the pan. If it is still pale, reset timer for 15 more minutes. If it is still not golden, do it again. The goal at this stage is to have a turkey that looks perfectly cooked, though we know it is raw inside still.

When the skin does look golden brown (and the pan is doing that nice sizzle), reduce oven to 300 F and loosely cover it with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Pour enough water into the pan so there's a 1/4 inch of liquid covering the bottom of it.

Set timer again, this time for about 10 minutes per pound.

When the timer goes off, check the internal temperature of the bird by putting the probe thermometer between the thigh and breast. When it reads 165-170 the bird is done. It will continue to cook as it rests and its internal temperature will increase by about 7%. Woo hoo!

Let the turkey stand for 30 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and use the juices in the pan to make amazing gravy!

Have a nice holiday! Be thankful, friends!


fancysimple said…
its so delicious and I love turkey ever since.. Thanks for sharing this.
Angela C said…
This is the best turkey recipe EVER. My boyfriend and I hosted Thanksgiving for the first year last year (with both our families) and there was major skepticism about how we'd do. Both families told us it was the best turkey that they've ever eaten - the skin was golden and crispy and the meat was unbelievably flavorful and tender. You could cut it with a fork. My dad hates white meat poultry but he loved this because it stayed so juicy.

This is my plan for this year. Thank you for sharing this, Ric!

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