This year, we hosted our first Thanksgiving. I had never been in charge of all of the dishes before and was super nervous! I worried that it wouldn’t turn out, the turkey would be too dry, nothing would be done on time, and that it would be a failure, basically.
My mother-in-law was coming up from St. George to stay for Thanksgiving, and I really wanted everything to be perfect. She’d never been to our house before, and I wanted to make a good impression.
The turkey scared me, quite honestly. I’d heard horror stories of how entire turkeys were easily ruined by a slight kitchen mistake.
I whipped out my cookbook, “Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites,” and should have known I was in good hands. Seriously, these ladies never fail me.
16 cups plus 1/2 cup chicken broth, divided
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
1 cup kosher salt
5-6 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 large sprig fresh thyme
1 large sprig fresh sage
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 handful fresh parsley
8 cups cold water
8 cups ice
3/4 cup butter, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2-3 cloves garlic
1 apple, cut in half
1-2 small onions, cut in half
4 stalks celery, cut into thirds
- About a week before you begin brining the turkey, place it in the refrigerator to defrost.
- They day before you roast the turkey, combine 16 cups chicken broth and next 9 ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Remove packaging from turkey. Remove neck and giblets (Be sure to check both body and neck cavities) and reserve for later use, if desired. Rinse turkey in cool water and then place in a 5 gallon bucket. Add cold water and ice cubes and then add brine mixture. Stir to combine. Cover bucket with a lid and set in a cold place up to 24 hours.
- When you’re ready to roast the turkey, preheat oven according to directions on the oven bag packaging. Soften 1/2 cup butter, mix in sage, and set aside. Remove turkey from the brine, rinse in cool water, and place in roasting pan. Gently loosen skin covering turkey breast and slide your hand underneath it to separate breast from skin. (Use a rubber glove for this step if you’re squeamish!) Spread handfuls of sage butter between breast and skin, rubbing any excess over the outside of skin.
- Combine 1/2 cup chicken broth, 2-3 cloves garlic, and 1/4 cup melted butter in a blender until completely smooth. Use flavor injector to inject mixture all over turkey.
- Slip any remaining rosemary and thyme springs under skin.
- Stuff apple, onion, and celery into turkey cavity. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of turkey breast and then place turkey in oven roasting bag and roast according to package directions until thermometer registers 165 degrees F. Remove turkey from oven and cut bag away. Allow to stand 15-20 minutes before slicing to allow juices to redistribute. Carve and enjoy (but be sure to snap a picture first)!
According to my husband, this was the best turkey he had ever eaten! It was juicy, moist, and packed full of flavor.