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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Perfect Turkey Recipe

This is the famous turkey recipe at work. I have yet to try it but if you do let me know how it turns out.
The Perfect Turkey

Items needed: Morton’s Kosher salt, Brown Sugar, Low Sodium Chicken Broth, Cornstarch, Kitchen Bouquet (small bottle), Un-salted Butter, Foil, Pan release spray (Pam), Onion, Celery, Carrots, Fresh Thyme, Sage and Rosemary, Digital Thermometer with cord. ( This will be the best 20$ Investment you will make )

Notes and suggestions:
q Never stuff the Turkey! Prepare the stuffing in a separate casserole dish with Chicken Broth in place of water and bake. It is not safe and exposes the protein to extra unnecessary heat. The excess mass within the turkey(the stuffing) will add extra cooking time to the bird, exposing extra-unnecessary heat to the meat causing it to overcook needlessly.
q Make the brine two days before you plan to cook the turkey, so it will be nice and cold.
q The drippings will be too salty for gravy, so make separate gravy from stock. If you are Hell-bent on using the pan drippings, I will give you a ‘fix’ at the end of the instructions, for making gravy.
q Remember to remove all the ‘goodies’ inside the turkey, both cavities !
q An 18 lb turkey will feed approx. 12 people and if prepared by these directions, will take about 2&1/2 to 3 hours to cook.
q Important! Allow 30 minutes of ‘rest’ time in your dinner schedule, for the bird to sit before carving.
q No basting needed! The meat will not absorb the juice and it will only take longer to cook, from the heat loss every time you open the door.
q Mix 1gal + 1 qt of water with 8 oz of brown sugar and ½ lb( 8oz ) Morton’s Kosher salt. Stir to dissolve. You will have to stir this several times to completely dissolve the salt and sugar. Chill this mixture well!
q Place thawed turkey in a container large enough to be able to submerge it when the brine is added. Pour in enough brine to cover. Place in refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
q If turkey floats, place a gallon bag filled with water on top to keep it submerged. Don’t worry, if it won’t completely submerge, put as much brine as possible and just flip it over several times during the process.
To Cook
q Set oven temp to 500
q Place oven rack to its next to lowest setting in the oven.
q Rinse turkey well (we need to remove the excess brine)
q Rough chop 1 medium onion, 1 head of celery, and 1 or 2 carrots. Reserve.
q Make a sheath of foil (breast plate) to fit the breast of the turkey. Shiny side out. It should only cover the breast.
q Remove the foil and spray the inside of the foil with Pam and reserve the foil until later.
q Massage room temp butter into the skin of the turkey. 4 to 6 oz should do it. Really rub it in.
q Place the vegetables into the turkey (where you used to put the stuffing) add a few sprigs of rosemary, thyme and sage. All fresh please.
q Place the turkey into a roaster with a rack so the bird is elevated off the bottom of the pan.
q Place the turkey into the 500-degree oven, ( do not put the foil on until later in the recipe ) neck first and set a timer for 30 minutes.
q Remove the bird from the oven. The breast should have a nice golden color. (If not, return him to the oven for another 10 minutes)
q Place the foil breastplate on the turkey. Remember to spray the inside of the foil with Pam so it will not stick to the turkey and pull off that beautiful skin.
q Place the probe of the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.
q Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and replace the now “armor plated turkey” back in the oven.
q Set the alarm (if the thermometer has one) for 161 Degrees. Make sure the thickest part of the breast is at this temp. (The dark meat will be at about 180)
q Remove the bird from the oven and cover completely with foil, making a tightly sealed pup tent over the bird. Place it in a warm place and let him rest for 30 minutes. This will finish the cooking and allow the juices to redistribute thru the protein.
q Your turkey is done !!

q If you insist on making gravy from the drippings, add 1 cup of water, 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth and thicken with cornstarch slurry. Add a little of the Kitchen Bouquet for color. You can even boil the giblets and mince them up to add to the gravy for texture…

Enjoy and Happy Holidays
Chef Dave Del Rio


  1. Hey Debbie! Fun to keep up with you on facebook and the blogger world. Hope you are doing well. I liked the turkey recipe, but it looks a little intense. Good luck if you try it. : )

  2. So ladies... Has anyone tried the recipe yet? It looks intense, but the results are worth it, and once you do it, it is really very simple.. Chef Dave Del Rio

  3. Chef Dave - I haven't cooked a turkey since I posted this but I am planning on cooking a turkey for Christmas and yes I will be following this recipe. Time to get my gourmet on. Thank you for coming to this blog. I have heard this recipe is to die for!


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