With Thanksgiving and Christmas closing in, it's time to talk turkey...as in how to cook the bird. I have learned a few things from Alton Brown about roasting turkeys in the oven, and I suggest you do the same as follows:
- Before cooking your bird, soak it overnight in a brine mixture of cold water and salt (Kosher is preferred), especially in a five-gallon container. A cooler or a construction bucket (such as those used for industrial sized paint containers - clean of course) is perfect for this.
- Make a breastplate for the bird to make it moist and juicy. Leave it on for the first 30 minutes at 500 degrees, then remove the breastplate and turn down the oven to 350 degrees for fifteen minutes a pound. Also, don't trust the pop-up indicators on your turkey. They're set to go up at a certain time and temp, and chances are that bird will be undercooked.
- Whatever you do, do not try filling the cavity of your bird with stuffing. Make it apart from the turkey because if you do stuff the bird, salmonella will result. Instead, fill the cavity of your bird with aromatics like apples, herbs, onions...you name it.