Thanksgiving Recipe - Maple Brine with Cranberry Glaze
PREPARE IN ADVANCE
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4 Qts Water
2 cups Brown Sugar
1 cup of Maple Syrup
1 cup of Soy
3/4 cup Kosher Salt
8-10 whole garlic cloves (mashed)
6-8 bay leaves
3-5 sprigs of Thyme
2 TPS of whole Peppercorns
1 1/2 of chopped fresh Ginger
2 TBS Ground Mustard
Combine and Boil for 10 minutes then cool. See cooling trick below.
1 Bag Fresh Cranberry
1 cup of OJ (fresh squeeze or reg.)
1 Zest of an Orange
1/4 to 1/2 cup of Maple Syrup
Boil until cranberries open up and flavors meld. This can be done before, but heat before glazing.
Recipe (2 days plus cooking time)
On this recipe I used 2 - 18lb birds.
Combine then Boil brine mix. If you want do 3 qts of water and add a lot of ice to cool. Clean turkey then Brine turkey for approx. 24hrs. I use a heavy duty clear bags and a cooler. (see pics)
After Brine- thoroughly rinse the birds. Then pat dry as much as possible (inside and out). Once dried - place in a fridge for 24hrs. This makes crispy skin. If you have the time it is not the end of the world if you skip this but promise you will do it next time...you will notice the difference.
Preheat oven or in this case a smoker to 325 F. Place the birds in a roasting pan, then rub the birds with olive oil (light coat), kosher salt, and some cracks of fresh black pepper.
Place the birds in the oven/ smoker. (If smoking I like apple or any fruit wood ) Check in after an 1 hr to 1 1/2 hr. If you have juices in the bottom of the roasting pan mop or baste the turkey. Every time you open up the oven/ smoker. Remember if you are looking you are not cooking. I like to open and baste every 45 minutes. Cooking times varies upon cooking device, outside temp (if smoking), and humidity. On this instance it was finished after 2:45. The goal internal temp is 165 degrees. Remember every time you open baste with juices on the bottom.
After the birds hit 165 deg. mop or brush with the glaze. This can be done the last 30 min. in the cooker as well. Note make sure the glaze is hot to warm. You do not want a cold glaze on the birds. I usually glaze 2 to 4 times. After the first glaze be sure to "tent" the birds in foil (foil loosely) to allow meat to rest (minimum 30 minutes) If you make the birds way ahead of time ...which we do often. I rest the birds in an empty cooler for hours. At this point they are wrapped in foil, placed in a cooler, then sometimes covered with dish towels with cooler closed. You will be amazed how long the temp. can hold. If you go way above 170 deg. (say 180 +) internal temp and rest the birds a long time they will be dry. Note you never want to hold food for a long periods in the danger zone, which is between 40 deg and 140 deg. So over 140 and under 40 is "safe".
When ready carve and enjoy. Remember to make a gravy from the dripping it is a sin if you do not.