Chronic Superwoman vs. the 25 Pound Turkey
25 Pound Turkey: 2
Chronic Superwoman: 1
I fought a 25 pound turkey over Thanksgiving and the turkey won. Not that it didn’t taste good, I was just a bit too ambitious. I wrenched a tendon in my shoulder *rolls eyes* because of it and am laughing hysterically at my stupidity. Okay, I’m really not laughing. I’m pretty mad at myself and am in a lot of pain. Really… what was I thinking?!
The plan was to simply cook the bird on Thanksgiving… seasoned and stuffed with gluten free stuffing. My hubby would be home and he would do all the grunt work. I was just there to direct him and season the bird. Yeah… that’s not what happened.
The day before Thanksgiving (when my hubby wasn’t home), I was reading a post from Ginger Lemon Girl on brining turkeys (I love Ginger Lemon Girl), and the thought occurred to me that I’d never eaten brined turkey and… HEY! Maybe I should brine my Thanksgiving turkey!
The over-ambitious cook in me quickly took over.
For those of you who only know me through this blog, you can compare my personality a little with the character of Julie in the movie Julie & Julia. Remember Julie is the one who is cooking her way through Julia Child’s cookbook and blogs about it. Well… yes. Julie and I have a lot in common. Slight OCD, a little crazy and over the top at times (don’t tell my family I’m admitting to this), but warmhearted… and most of all, we share a true passion for cooking. I love through my food and I love cooking for my friends and family because it’s just simply one of the ways love them. So I want every meal (especially a holiday meal) to be perfect… and yes, I know… OCD and over the top again.
BUT back to the over-ambitious crazy woman…
I was a woman on a mission. I was running all over the house trying to find something to last-minute-brine the 25 pound turkey in and came to the conclusion I would use my parent’s cooler we still had in our garage – lined with a 33 gallon heavy duty trash bag. Genius, I know… right?
So I lugged the cooler into the house, got it cleaned out and lined with the garbage bag, then managed to get the bird into the sink. You should have seen me fight with that stupid bird – cleaning it out and rinsing it off. Now keep in mind, I am only 5′ tall, so small woman + auto-immune arthritis (who thinks she’s invincible, apparently) vs. a 25 pound turkey is quite a sight to see.
I don’t know how, but I managed to get the bird cleaned and into the cooler. Fortunately, living in the great State of Alaska has its perks. It was in the mid-thirties (F) outside, so I drug the cooler out on the back porch, got the brine done, cooled, and into the cooler, where it sat with the turkey for the next 18 hours.
The turkey was amazing. It was most definitely the best turkey I’ve ever had. It was tender, juicy, moist… YUM! Exactly what I had wanted and hoped for. I am just paying the price for it now.
So the moral of the story is:
1) always brine your turkey because it will taste amazing,
2) make someone else do the grunt work!!
3) plan ahead for it!!
When I was looking for a brine recipe online, no recipe really had what I was looking for (or what I had on hand), so I created my own. Here it is:
Turkey Brine for 25 lbs. Turkey
**Please keep in mind you will need to adjust the ingredients if you have a smaller turkey, otherwise it could be very salty!
In a large stock pot, bring the below ingredients to a boil over high heat:
1 32 oz. carton of GF chicken broth
2 – 3 TBSP of GF vegetable base
3 – 4 bay leaves
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup organic brown sugar (you probably could sub. 1/3 cup organic agave)
2 TBSP dried parsley
2 TBSP dried rosemary
2 TBSP dried thyme
1 1/2 TBSP dried sage
2 large shredded apples, core, juice, skin on and everything – just throw it in the pot! (I used fuji apples)
And last, but not least:
cool water – enough to fill the pot leaving a couple inches of room at the top
Once the mixture is boiling, turn off the burner and remove from heat. Let the brine cool completely before pouring it over the turkey. Then you will need more water! Continue to pour more cool water over your turkey until it is completely submerged. I don’t know how much additional water I used, but it was a lot. Store somewhere cold (in the fridge or outside if you live in a cold climate) and let the turkey brine for 18 to 24 hours.
A couple tips:
Thoroughly rinse your bird prior to roasting it, it’s helps to eliminate the excess sodium leftover from the brine.
When seasoning your bird, keep the salt to a minimum, or to be safe, don’t use any salt at all!
Cook your stuffing separate from the turkey, rather than stuffing the bird. Brined turkeys can create salty stuffing.
Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!!