Date Cooked: October 10th, 2008
** 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.
I am a husband to a loving wife that shares my same interest for food and cooking. I am a father to two sons (and a newborn son) that have an aversion to food. I'm also a pretty bad cook... which could be their problem... but I'm working on it.
I'm attempting to cook-through 'The New Best Recipe' for two reasons. I want to educate myself on the culinary arts a little and I want to provide better and hopefully more interesting meal options for my family... oh yeah plus I find food photography real exciting so it gives me a chance to justify why I take pictures of food!