Everyone claims to have the best Thanksgiving turkey recipe in the world. Maybe it’s your Aunt Irma. You’ve been hearing her gassing it up ever since you were a kid. But every year, once Thanksgiving rolls around and you’re at the table, dodging questions from your family about why you’re still single or whatever happened to that nice sweater Grandma knitted for you last Christmas, the food comes around and your turkey looks like this.
OK so maybe it’s not that bad, but your turkey is noticeably dry. So you slather on gravy hoping to have an easier time of swallowing it.
But every once in a while, you’ll spend Thanksgiving at a friend’s house, or maybe a relative who actually knows what they’re doing, and you’ll get a glorious Thanksgiving turkey that’s juicy, delicious, and amazing.
Now there’s more than one way to cook a Turkey, but there is a turkey cooking method that’s been scientifically proven, by none other than the Food Network’s resident culinary nerd, Alton Brown himself, that arguably stands taller than the rest.
This is Alton Brown’s Perfect Roast Turkey from his show, Good Eats. I’ve had it the last two Thanksgivings and I will not go back to any other Turkey, ever. It’s juicy, it’s tender, it’s succulent. It’s every thing you could ever want from a Thanksgiving bird.
Now the secret to Brown’s recipe is the brine. If you’re not doing the brine, then you’re going to have a bad, bad time.
Now this recipe is for a 14-16 pound bird, so keep that in mind when you’re preparing it. If you’ve got a bigger or smaller Turkey, then you’re going to have to adjust the ingredient measurements accordingly.
You can check out all of the directions for precisely how to cook this bad boy by visiting the Food Network’s page here. But you’re going to need some time beforehand. Make sure to brine the turkey anywhere from 8 to 16 hours. (I tried 10 hours my first year, and 16 the next, for me, longer is better.) Just make sure you turn the turkey halfway through the brining process.
Social media’s packed with people showing off their flawless Alton Brown birds.
Now you might be asking yourself just how in the world you’re going to brine one of the bigger birds. You can take a cue from this ingenuous Instagram user and toss that bad boy in a cooler filled with ice. Just make sure to babysit it by constantly adding ice to make sure that Turkey isn’t getting spoiled.
[DISCLAIMER: Black dots are black peppercorns and allspice berries] Alrighty, guys!!! It might seem weird or even gross, but THIS is where the magic happens!!! Turkey went into the brine at 2pm and it's not coming out until 8am tomorrow morning, that gives us precisely 18 hours of brining, giving the turkey supreme flavor and making it moist. This is magic. #JorgesGuideToThanksgiving #Thanksgiving #ThanksgivingTurkey #Turkey #BrinedTurkey #TurkeyBrine #TurkeyPrep #AltonBrown #AltonBrownTurkey #GoodEatsTurkey #GoodEats #Marinade #VegetableBroth #ChickenBroth #Allspice #CandiedGinger #BlackPeppercorn #KosherSalt #Flavor
Follow the recipe, trust me, you won’t regret it. You’ll get a perfect, juicy first cut like this.
White meat or dark meat, it’s all flavorful, and never dry.