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image courtesy http://thebeeroness.com/2011/11/28/beer-brined-turkey/

When the first trickle of guests arrive and notice that the turkey is not yet in the oven, they may express shock or doubt, having only been exposed to “cook it all day” turkeys of the past. This high speed recipe produces crisp skin and ensures juicy breast meat and properly cooked dark meat, all while freeing the oven up for other uses in the morning.

Turkey presents a challenge because the breast meat is overcooked at 170°F, while the thighs are a disturbing pink at this stage. The many secrets of High Roast turkey include basting with butter rather than drippings (the mixture of juices and fats cause splotchy browning), roasting at a higher temperature, and starting out the turkey breast-side down so that the legs and thighs have more exposure to the oven.

There are two brine formulas here, depending whether you prefer to brine for 4-6 hours or an overnight 12-14 hour soak. Do not increase the salt for turkey size. If you are roasting a kosher or self-basting turkey, then do not brine it as it already contains a good amount of sodium.

1. Dissolve 1 cup table salt per gallon cold water for 4- to 6-hour brine or 1/2 cup table salt per gallon cold water for 12- to 14-hour brine in large stockpot or clean bucket. Two gallons of water will be sufficient for most birds; larger birds may require three gallons. Add turkey and refrigerate for time specified. You may also use a sterilized ice chest with water, salt, and ice cubes. Periodically add ice and check water temperature to ensure it remains below 40 degrees.

2. Remove turkey from brine and rinse well under cool running water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels and tuck tips of drumsticks into skin at tail to secure, then tuck wing tips behind back. Place on wire rack over a cookie sheet and place in refrigerator for 3-5 hours to dry.

3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 400 degrees for 12- to 18-pound bird or 425 degrees for 18- to 22-pound bird. Line large V-rack with heavy-duty foil and use paring knife or skewer to poke 20 to 30 holes in foil; set V-rack in large roasting pan.

vrack-holesimage courtesy http://noemptychairs.me/2010/11/

4. Remove giblets from turkey and then add to large cavity of turkey: 1 peeled carrot and 1 celery stalk, each cut into 1 inch pieces, one medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped, and one medium orange, quartered.

5. Brush turkey breast with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Rotate turkey so that it is breast-side down on prepared V-rack. Brush back of turkey with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Add 3/4 cup of water to roasting pan.

turkey-vrackimage courtesy http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/brined-roast-turkey/

6. Roast 45 minutes for 12- to 18-pound bird or 1 hour for 18- to 22-pound bird.

7. Remove roasting pan with turkey from oven (close oven door to retain oven heat); reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees if roasting 18- to 22-pound bird. Using clean potholders or kitchen towels, rotate turkey breast-side up; baste turkey with additional melted butter. Add 1/2 cup water to pan if it is in danger of drying out.

8. Continue to roast until thickest part of breast registers 165 degrees and thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 50 to 60 minutes longer for 12- to 15-pound bird, about 1 1/4 hours for 15- to 18-pound bird, or about 2 hours longer for 18- to 22-pound bird.

9. Transfer turkey to carving board; tent loosely with foil; let rest 30 minutes (or up to 40 minutes for 18- to 22-pound bird). Carve and serve.

10. Meanwhile, transfer roasting pan to stove, remove V-rack, remove onion, carrot, celery, and other solids, and then proceed with making turkey gravy. If your stove does not have enough room for this, then transfer drippings to a skillet.

11. Whisk 1-2 tbsp of flour into drippings and mash with a spatula until smooth and combined into a paste. Bring to a simmer. Add 2-4 cups chicken stock, dried thyme, salt and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to gravy boat or other serving dish.

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