Saturday, December 5, 2009

Roast Turkey, Alton Brown style

Finished turkey, ready to carve on the make-shift carving platter.

I wanted to cook this turkey specifically for the leftovers.

So I did that.

First, to cook the bird. Last time I talked turkey, it was about the brine. This time, I'm going to focus on the roasting portion of Alton's recipe. As sort of an experiment, I opted not to brine this bird. It has been brined (or injected) to yield 8% of a brine solution already. Does a bird with 8% solution added need additional brining? I'll be able to compare this bird with the one I brined and took to my brothers house.

Essentially, I'll simply pick up where I left off last time, and continue with Alton Browns

Good Eats Roast Turkey, the roasting part.

For the aromatics:

1 red 2 small red apples, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 c water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
canola vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 500° F. Remove the bird from packaging and rinse inside and out with cold water.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage.

Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with oil.

My bird had no wingtips!

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500° F for 30 minutes.

Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast, cover the breast with foil and reduce the oven temperature to 350° F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161° F.

A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.

Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a gigantic mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Done deal in about 3 1/2 hours start to finish, including oven preheating, roasting, and standing around time. Simple enough.

You can't tell yet, but this bird was juicy. If you get a bird that has 8% solution added, I don't think you need to brine. Using your own (or Alton's brine) has the advantage of including the ingredients you want, but brining is all about getting the bird to suck up water and be moist. Jennie-O achieved that.

Aromatics in the cavity were a plus, both times -- here and at my brother's house. It's neat because the meat closer to the cavity had more aromatic-y flavors and that's awesome.

As for canola vs vegetable oil, use canola! The bird I roasted at my brothers house was lubed in canola and I couldn't taste it. I used vegetable oil on this bird and it was evident to me. Maybe not Rodney, but to me, it was distinctly different. While the turkey overall tasted good, the fact that I could taste the vegetable oil was a negative. Since it's all over the skin, the skin didn't taste too hot. Don't do that to yourself. Crispy skin should be prime goods that folks come to blows over. Rodney peeled the skin of his boob slices. 'Nough said.

Cost: about $6 for the entire turkey.

Dinner tonight was sort of a Thanksgiving rehash: roast turkey, mashed potatoes and Stove-Top stuffing. Comforting and simple.