Thursday, October 23, 2008

29. Roast Stuffed Turkey

Date Cooked: October 10th, 2008
Page: 367
Rating: A-

** This is a horrible photo of the turkey and makes it look like a big burnt ball. It looked much better than this photo portrays and I didn’t remember it being blackened like that which makes me think the camera is darkening the photo. Just feel I need to justify this.

As I had stated in the last post I didn’t spend the entire time cooking this turkey but I did prep it, load it in the oven and carve it. My sister-in-law monitored it and made sure it was nicely buttered.
The 16lbs. turkey started its journey to the table in a 4 hour salt water bath. Actually it started with a rinse and removal of the giblets, neck and a little trim of excess skin, then it hit the salt water. What I discovered is that I do not have a pot or bucket large enough to brine a turkey of this size. I thought I did but the turkey was too wide and although I considered jamming it in I thought better and started looking for an alternative. That alternative was a Rubbermaid tote that was much too large. The brine calls for a cup of salt in four gallons of water but I needed a lot more than 4 gallons of water to cover my turkey. I think I used two whole boxes of salt to brine it. It’s a good thing table salt is cheap. It took two people to safely lift the tote once it was filled with the water and turkey. The next problem was finding a place cool enough to store it while it brined because I’m pretty sure fridges large enough to hold a 20 gallon tote aren’t common. It’s a good thing fall is here because my garage was still pretty cool from the nighttime temperature drop. So the turkey was finally brining and I could hit the basement.

Four hours after it was placed in the brine I removed the turkey and rinsed it before patting it dry. I loaded it onto the oven rack and pre-heated the oven. I threw some onions, carrots and celery in the pan and then I left the kitchen. My sister-in-law, once she was finished preparing the stuffing, jammed it to capacity (and I mean this turkey was STUFFED). She buttered it and put it in the oven.

At some point around the 2-3 hour mark I was done with the basement and able to finally help in the kitchen. It was also perfect timing for turning the turkey. Have you ever turned a greased up 16 lbs turkey with silicon oven mitts? I won’t ever again. Now I know why they sell big turkey forks. After struggling and burning myself and coating my shirt sleeves in turkey juice it was ready to go back in the oven. And I was ready to start a few other dishes (not from the book). The house at this point was smelling awesome!

Once the turkey was done I set it on my cutting board to rest for a bit. The pictures do not do it justice. Once it had rested for a bit I scooped out the stuffing and then set to carving it. I was really looking forward to this part of the dish. I think overall I did a really good job as a first timer carver. I unfortunately didn’t get any photos of the final product. But take my word it was a delicious turkey if I do say so myself.

Rating: A- I am a huge fan of brining and I don’t think this is a step I will skip anymore in poultry preparation. The turkey was cooked wonderfully and had lots of moisture and flavor! I’m sure it could have been better but I was definitely pleased with the team effort in putting this together.


  1. Mmmm... turkey! I've been eating (mostly) vegetarian lately, but turkey at Thanksgiving is one thing I will never give up. I only have a month until it's my turn!

    I've never brined a turkey before either. I'll be sure to try it this year, though. Congrats on your big, beautiful bird!

  2. Heehee...I have been contemplating myself about posting my turkey photos - it looks just not great!! My host family used to brine turkey but I have never do it on my own.


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