Back To Basics- How To Roast A Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey + 2 Turkey Brine Recipe Variations

Back To Basics- How To Roast A Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey + 2 Turkey Brine Recipe Variations

I often think back to Thanksgiving dinners when I was a child. My parents would get up before the sun rose and start preparing the turkey. I remember waking to the sounds of bowls and mixing cups clanking, the chef’s knife chopping vegetables, and the blender pureeing my Dad’s famous cranberries. I remember the feeling of excitement and anticipation as I climbed out of bed. Is there any meal that is as highly anticipated each year as Thanksgiving dinner?

Some years extra tables and chairs would be brought into the house and the seats would be filled with friends and family. Other years it would just be our immediate family surrounding the table. It’s hard to say if I preferred the small, intimate Thanksgiving dinners or the large, chaotic Thanksgiving dinners better. I do know that my parents seemed a bit more calm when they were cooking for just the four of us, and it gave us time to focus on each other and to show gratitude for the plethora of things we were thankful for. 

I grew up in the Washington State, so the Thanksgivings of my childhood were celebrated in November. When I moved to Canada at the age of 19, suddenly Thanksgiving was in October on a day when my family in the US was working, and on US Thanksgiving I was working myself. Suddenly I found myself “Thanksgiving-less”, and I remember missing having that day of celebrating gratitude around a table with family and friends. 

I still remember my very first real Canadian Thanksgiving. It was a few years after I moved to Canada and my (now) husband invited me to his sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I remember being so impressed that she was preparing Thanksgiving dinner. It seemed like such an adult task, one so daunting that I thought I’d never live up to it.

Let’s be honest– Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner can be intimidating, especially if it’s the first year that you’ve taken over the task from a seasoned Thanksgiving veteran.

Having hosted my own Thanksgiving dinner now, multiple times since my first Canadian Thanksgiving with my sister in law I can tell you this– Don’t be intimidated. Roasting the perfect Thanksgiving turkey is a breeze, and hosting a lovely Thanksgiving dinner is doable for anyone, if you use these tips:

4 Tips for A Successful Thanksgiving Dinner:

1. Plan ahead. Get organized. Write your grocery list and double and triple check them. 

2. Use recipes from sources that you trust. Read the recipes through, start to finish, a week or so ahead of time. You don’t want any surprises popping up on Thanksgiving Day.

3. Create a timeline for the day and “try” to stick to it. Think about what you can make ahead that will only take a few minutes to reheat the evening of Thanksgiving. Think about the order in which you prepare things and how much oven space and room on your stovetop you will have. 

4. Surround yourself with people you love and show gratitude for the wonderful life you have been blessed with! 

Ready to learn how to roast a perfect thanksgiving turkey? Read on!

Back To Basics- How To Roast A Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey + 2 Turkey Brine Recipe Variations

Back To Basics- How To Roast A Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey + 2 Turkey Brine Recipe Variations

Basic Turkey Ingredients: 

-1 10-20 pound turkey

-1 stick of room temperature butter

Brining A Turkey:

We love to brine our turkey. We find that this makes the turkey more flavorful and juicy. We suggest brining your turkey for 24-48 hours, but even just overnight will do wonders for your bird! You can make the brine a few days in advance if you would like to give it time to cool. The other great thing about doing a brine is that you can brine your turkey from frozen, giving it a cool place to hang out and get flavorful while thawing! 

We’re giving you two brine ideas below. The first, our Citrus Ginger Brine, is the brine that we used on our turkey this year. It gives the meat a bit of a sweeter flavor, but isn’t overpowering. The second brine suggestion, our Savoury Herb Brine will give your turkey more of a savoury flavor. 

Ingredients for the Citrus Orange Brine: 

-1 gallon vegetable stock

-1 cup coarse or kosher salt

-1tbsp peppercorn

-1/2 cup of coconut sugar (brown sugar can be substituted if you don’t have coconut sugar available.)

-2 tsp allspice berries

-2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

-1 inch knob ginger, chopped

-3 containers frozen orange juice concentrate

-Ice water (Enough to cover turkey when combined with brine)

Aromatics That Go Well With A Citrus Ginger Brined Turkey:

-Onion

-Orange or other citrus fruits like grapefruit or lemon

-Cranberries

-Apples

Ingredients for the Savoury Herb Brine:

-1 gallon vegetable stock

-1 cup coarse or kosher salt

-1tbsp peppercorn

-1/2 cup of coconut sugar (brown sugar can be substituted if you don’t have coconut sugar available.)

-6 cloves of garlic, bruised

-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

-2 sprigs of fresh thyme

-3 bay leaves

-Ice water (Enough to cover turkey when combined with brine)

Aromatics That Go Well With A Savoury Herb Brined Turkey:

-Onions

-Celery

-Carrots 

Directions for preparing your brine:

Step 1: In a stock pot over high heat, combine all of the brine ingredients, except for the ice water (don’t put in ingredients listed under aromatics either, that’s to stuff your turkey with later on). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar has dissolved.  

Step 2: Remove from heat and allow brine to cool. You can put your brine in the fridge to speed up this process. If  you aren’t brining your turkey immediately, store your brine in the fridge covered for up to a week. 

Brining your turkey:

Step 1: Once brine is cooled, remove giblets from turkey and set aside. Place turkey in a container large enough to hold the entire turkey, brine and ice water.

Step 2: Pour in brine and then enough ice water to cover the entire turkey. Put in fridge if possible, otherwise in a cool dark place for 8-48 hours. If you don’t have room in your fridge we suggest packing ice packs around the container that you are brining your turkey in to make sure it stays nice and cool. 

Back To Basics- How To Roast A Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey + 2 Turkey Brine Recipe Variations

Cooking your turkey:

Step 1: Preheat oven 475F and arrange oven rack to the lowest position. Remove turkey from brine, discarding brine liquid. 

Step 2: Rinse turkey with cold water and then pat dry with a paper towel. Place turkey breast side up on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. If necessary, use some of your aromatics to help keep the turkey level and balanced. Rub the bird down inside and out with butter coating entire surface.

Step 3: Place aromatics in and around your turkey. Placing them in the turkey cavity and neck opening.  Tuck wings under turkey or cover tips with tin foil to prevent them from burning. Secure legs under skin flap if possible or tie with butchers twine.

Step 4: Put turkey in oven for 30 minutes. Check turkey and tent it with tin foil if necessary to prevent skin from burning. Reduce heat to 350F. Roast until temperature in the thigh and breast read 170F. A turkey between 12 and 16 pounds should take approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook.

Step 5: Remove turkey and let rest under tin foil for at least 15min before carving. Serve and enjoy.

Looking for more turkey help?

Visit the Canadian Turkey website! They have great resources on their site called “Whole Bird How To’s” for making cooking a whole turkey a breeze! I especially love this Turkey calculator that tells you how many pounds your turkey should be depending on how big of a group you’ll be feeding! Make sure to check out their recipe section for ideas of what to do with your turkey leftovers!  

Cooking for two? Make sure you check out the turkey section of the meat department at your local grocery store. Canadian Turkey has a wide variety of turkey cuts to make any meal a success! Let’s help support Canadian Farmers who produce the highest quality of poultry! 

Canadian_TURKEY_Logo_RGB_HR

Disclosure: Thank you for Canadian Turkey for working with us on this post. As with every article on Hello Creative Family, all thoughts and opinions are 100% our own. 

Like this post? Check out the rest of the posts in our Back To Basics series to learn all kinds of kitchen basics! We teach you how to make things from scratch at home from bread, to perfect pie crust, to pumpkin puree, to almond milk and coconut milk

Back To Basics Series

 



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Publisher & Creative Director of Hello Creative Family. Crafty girl who loves to write about homemade, handmade, heart made projects. Mom, bookworm & professional tea drinker. Hoarder of colored sharpies, fabric and mason jars. Motto: Live life creatively!


'Back To Basics- How To Roast A Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey + 2 Turkey Brine Recipe Variations' have 5 comments

  1. November 11, 2016 @ 10:18 am Mary Beth

    This is truly picture perfect! Thanks so much for sharing at Project Inspire{d}.

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