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New Kitchen Store

New Kitchen Store: Talking Turkey

Talking Turkey

Exploring Fresh Ways to Prepare Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Writer / Cheryl – New Kitchen Store
Photography Provided

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and for most everyone, turkey is the focal point and star of the show for the Thanksgiving feast.

There are so many ways to cook a turkey, and every year it seems that someone comes up with a new way. There is deep-fried turkey, butterflied turkey breast made into a turkey roll, spatchcock turkey, marinated or brined turkey, turkey rubs, and let’s not forget the traditional oven roasting with basting. How do you choose?

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In this article we are going to discuss two easy ways to roast the perfect turkey.

First is brining. What is brining? Turkey is a relatively lean bird, especially the breast. Because it doesn’t tend to have a lot of fat, it is harder to keep the meat from becoming overcooked, dry and tough. This is where brining helps. Brine is a basic solution of water and salt. You can also add various spices and seasonings to it to fit your individual taste.

During the brining time the turkey will absorb extra moisture, which will help the turkey stay juicy. It will also absorb salt, so make sure that the turkey you choose to brine is not already pre-salted or pre-seasoned. The salt not only adds extra flavor, but it will also break down some of the turkey’s proteins, making it more tender. Brining is easy, but it’s not quick. You will need to think ahead at least 16 to 24 hours. It also will take up room in your refrigerator. Aside from those two factors, brining is a wonderful way to assure that you serve a juicy, tender and flavorful bird for your Thanksgiving guests.

Brine Recipe

  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 2 gallons water (or more to cover turkey)
  • 4 tablespoons NKS* rosemary
  • 5 teaspoons NKS dried minced garlic
  • 1.5 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons NKS peppercorns
  • 5 NKS whole bay leaves
  • 8 NKS whole star anises
  • 2 tablespoons NKS hint of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons NKS whole juniper berries

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large stock pot. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat and cover.

2. Allow to cool completely and pour into a larger pot for brining. Place uncooked turkey into the solution, then refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours.

3. When ready to roast, remove turkey from brine. Submerge turkey in a clean sink of fresh, cold water. Allow to soak for at least 15 minutes to remove excess salt.

4. Discard brine. Remove turkey from clean water, pat dry, and cook according to your normal roasting directions.

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The second cooking method is dry rub. Dry rubbing a turkey is great for sealing in the meat’s juiciness, and as we discussed above, this is helpful as turkey tends to be dry. It also adds both flavor and texture to the meat.  Dry rubbing a turkey is very simple. It involves basically brushing the outside of the turkey with oil or butter, and then generously rubbing the turkey all over with the seasonings of your choice. A dry-rub spice mixture can be made up of any herb or spice of your choosing. The combinations are really endless and subject to whatever your imagination can dream up. The following recipe is just one idea for what can be used in a dry rub for your Thanksgiving turkey.

Dry-Rub Recipe

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground NKS black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons NKS hint of thyme
  • 2 teaspoons NKS rosemary
  • ½  teaspoon NKS garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon NKS onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon NKS basil
  • 1 teaspoon NKS fennel
  • 2 teaspoons NKS sage
  • 1 teaspoon NKS lavender

This recipe is enough rub for a 14- to 16-pound turkey.

1. Generously season the turkey cavity with salt and pepper, to taste. Brush the turkey with olive oil, and rub it with the seasoning mixture.

2. Tie the legs together loosely to hold their shape and tuck the wing tips under.

3. Roast according to your normal roasting directions.

*NKS denotes the spices carried at New Kitchen Store. Whichever way you decide to cook your turkey this year, come into New Kitchen Store to select all of the herbs and spices that you will need.

I hope that these two methods make you enthused to cook delicious, juicy and tender turkey this Thanksgiving for your family and friends. I hope it convinces you that creating the perfect turkey for your Thanksgiving table is not as daunting as it may seem.

New Kitchen Store is the largest gourmet kitchen supply store in Michiana. Come visit us at 330 Liberty Street in Walkerton. For more information, call 574-586-2745 or visit newkitchenstore.com.

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