Woo-woo! It’s my favorite time of year! I’ve put up my twinkly lights and my 9-foot tall Christmas tree, the stockings are hung above the fireplace and I’ve already watched National Lampoons Christmas Vacation TWICE. Go big or go home is my holiday mantra. Here’s my annual tree hugging moment:
And yes, I do go straight from Halloween to Christmas (when it comes to decor), but I’m certainly all about that Thanksgiving dinner. Give me a loaded up plate, douse everything in gravy – and I’m one happy Annie.
So let’s get to that Thanksgiving food, shall we? Today I’m posting the turkey recipe we used (and really loved), as well as my simple no-fail gravy recipe. I’ll follow up this blog with my sides and dessert too, so come on back for more Thanksgiving yumminess! Giddyup.
Herb Brined Thanksgiving Turkey
Prep Time: At least 8 hours to brine
Cook Time: 3.5 hours – 4 hours unstuffed, 4.5 – 5 hours stuffed
Butterball turkey calculator is key.
Servings: Um, LOTS.
20 lb non-frozen or thawed turkey
1 gallon vegetable broth
1 cup sea salt
1 tbs dried rosemary
1 tbs dried sage
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tbs dried savory
1 gallon ice water
1 large sealable container (like a cooler)
6 tbs butter
This brine recipe comes from allrecipes.com and with tons of great reviews, we wanted to give it a go. It ended up being super easy and delivers a perfectly moist and tasty turkey. The great thing about a brine is that you can really customize it to the flavors you like by including things like orange peel, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves and more. You really can’t mess this up.
First, in a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory spice. Bring this mixture to a boil and stir frequently to ensure the salt is dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat, and then let cool to room temperature. Once cool, pour the brine into a clean 5 gallon bucket or cooler (which is what we did) and stir in the ice water. Rinse the turkey and dry with paper towels, and make sure you remove the innards.
Next up place the turkey, breast down, into the container with the brine and make sure the cavity gets filled. Place the container in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the turkey carefully when ready to cook and drain off the excess brine and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. If you’re going to stuff the turkey, do so now. Also put the 6 pads of butter between the skin and the meat for ultimate tastiness.
Place the turkey in a large roasting pan ideally with a rack, and pop it in the oven. Since all turkey’s vary in weight, I would stick with the Butterball Cook Calculator to know the right range of time your bird should roast. But to ensure no overcooking, use a meat thermometer to ensure you get the thigh to 180 degrees fahrenheit and the breast to 165 degrees fahrenheit.
Once the turkey reaches these temperatures, remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Do not throw out the drippings as you need them for the gravy recipe that is up next!
Carve the turkey into pieces and serve with the gravy I’m about to share with you!
No Fail Turkey Gravy Recipe
2 tbs butter
2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 cups turkey drippings, with the fat separated out if you can
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
Get a sauce pan on medium heat and add the butter and flour. Heat until the butter is melted and mix the flour and butter well, cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. If you do not have 2 cups of turkey drippings, you can get to two cups by adding store-bought chicken broth. Add the drippings (and broth if needed) to the hot pan and whisk on medium heat for about 5 minutes until the gravy gets bubbly and thick. Add salt and pepper only to taste, you may not need salt depending on the drippings, so it’s important to taste. Voila! Homemade gravy that everyone will love!
Alright all, sides will be up next! Stay tuned.