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This is started two days before Thanksgiving, or the day that you plan on cooking the turkey. Get a nonreactive container large enough to hold the turkey and the brine overnight. A large cooler works well.
Holiday Turkey Brine - Day 1
- 1 gallon water
- 1 small container frozen orange juice, thawed
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup homemade brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix all of these ingredients together until the sugar and salt is dissolved. You can put the kosher salt in a blender for a couple minutes to make salt powder, so it dissolves faster. Place the turkey in the brine and cover. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator, or outside if it's cold enough.
Holiday Turkey Marinade - Day 2
Take the bird out of the brine, drain and pat dry. Discard the brine. In a large stock pot (one that can hold your turkey, or clean out the cooler and use again), mix the following ingredients together:
- 3 fresh oranges, sliced
- 3 fresh lemons, sliced
- 1/2 fresh green pepper, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup homemade garlic powder
- 2 TBS paprika
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon (two cinnamon sticks will work too)
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp cloves (optional)
- 2 TBS freshly ground black pepper
Place the turkey back in the cooler or in the stock pan and rub the inside and outside of the turkey with this marinade. Place back in the refrigerator overnight to marinade. (Is your mouth watering yet? It should be, this is unbelievable.)
It's Thanksgiving morning. Take the turkey out of the cooler and shake off the excess marinade. It is now ready to roast. You will hear oohs and aahs during dinner. It's wonderful. "Happy Thanksgiving."
Roasting a Turkey in Foil - Day 3
Turkey of any size may be cooked at a high oven temperature when wrapped in aluminum foil. This method is particularly suitable for cooking larger birds, weighing 16 to 24 pounds.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare the turkey as for How To Bake a Turkey above. Place the turkey in the center of a foil strip long enough to meet on top of the turkey, plus 12 inches.
If the standard 18-inch foil is not wide enough, splice two sheets of foil with a double-fold pressed flat. You can also purchase the extra strength foil which is usually sold in wider widths.
Bring the ends of the foil together over the breast of the turkey and make a double-fold to fasten above the bird. Bring the sides of the foil up high enough to prevent drippings from escaping into the pan, but do not seal. Package should not be airtight.
Place turkey breast up in a shallow pan, but not on the rack. Cook to within 30 to 40 minutes of the total time given in the chart below. Carefully open the foil. Continue cooking until the bird tests done, and it is browned.
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