After teaching the Thanksgiving Rehearsal class this last Saturday, it occurred to me that even the most confident home cooks, and some professional chefs have trepidation and nerves when it comes to the expectations for The Grand Thanksgiving Dinner (hear the sound of trumpets).

I have a friend that continues to use me as a Thanksgiving hotline every year for more than ten years. I keep a keen eye on my cell phone as the Sunday before T-day approaches, knowing that she’ll be standing in the spice aisle of the grocery store, asking me to remind her of exactly the dry spices I use in my brine recipe, and “which brand of stock should I buy, again?”

Here are a few quick tips to make your Thanksgiving research more concise:

1. Brine your turkey. I’ve stolen a recipe from years back from Alton Brown with a few changes just to make it simpler. It’s just basic science that it makes your turkey moisture and more seasoned throughout. Your family will love you more atorvastatin online. Here’s what I recommend you do:

Turkey Basics from The Kitchen at Middleground Farms

1 gallon vegetable stock
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon peppercorns
6 bay leaves
1 ½ teaspoons all spice berries
1 gallon ice/water

Combine 1/2 gallon vegetable stock with salt, brown sugar and spices and stir until dissolved. Add remainder of vegetable stock and allow to cool until at least lukewarm. Add the ice/water combo and pour over turkey in a large enough container to allow the turkey to submerge. You may need to do this in an insulated cooler if weather isn’t cold enough to keep outside overnight. I put a plate over the turkey to weight it down and keep it submerged. After at least 12 hours I remove the bird, drain it and allow to sit at room temperature for about an hour before baking. I also make sure the skin on the top is dry. I then…

Stuff inside cavity:
1 apple
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 lemon, halved
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
Sprig of rosemary
Sprig of sage
Parsley stems

I then baste the bird with a this….

Lemon, parsley and garlic butter:
1/2 lb butter, at room temperature
finely grated zest and juice of 2 small lemons
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped

Process in food process or mix by hand. Rub all over the outside of the bird, and do your best to get it between the skin and the breast meat as well. This REALLY helps to brown the turkey evenly.

Put turkey in the oven legs first, if available. Roast for 500 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown, then foil cover and reduce oven to 350 until meat thermometer registers 161 degrees. For a 14 lbs bird, it will take around 2 – 2/12 hrs in total). At 350 degrees you’ll expect the turkey to take an additional 13 minutes per pound for larger birds.

Always use a meat thermometer, and make sure you put it in the thickest part of the thigh, entering the chicken at the crease between the breast and thigh. And don’t hit the bone, as the reading will be inaccurate.

When the turkey has come to temperature, let it rest for AT LEAST 30 minutes to let the juices settle. That is it. Your bird will be beautiful. No need to call me.

More about side dishes in the coming days….