I’m a fan of making Thanksgiving as simple as possible, but I have yet to embrace takeout, as I really do like to cook. And, while the sides and desserts may change from year to year based on what my kids have recently seen on Food Network, one thing definitely stays the same – our turkey recipe. We find it pretty much perfect. So, get ready. Today’s post shares two ideas for simple, yet pretty, table decor and includes this favorite turkey recipe, which you need to begin TODAY.
First off, two table ideas. I used to go all out with decor, but as life has gotten more and more hectic, I continue to pare back. I’m sure I will go all out once again, but right now, the simple table is best.
So, I hope I’ve convinced you that a pretty table need not be one that causes you angst! Now, onto the turkey.
Since this recipe first appeared in Bon Appetite, in 2004, we have used it for our Thanksgiving turkey. The whole reason we tried it was because it was a grilled turkey, and I’ll do anything to free up my oven. Plus, my husband was happy to take charge in this department. The secret as to why this turkey is so good, however, is not the cooking method, though, it’s the brine. Starting TODAY, we will brine our turkey in lemon peel, lemon juice, rosemary, earl grey tea, brown sugar and tons of kosher salt, and then we’ll grill it on the Big Green Egg. (I keep saying “we,” but I really mean “he.”) Although we prefer The Egg, we have also used an oven, as well as a gas grill. Each method has produced not only the most beautiful bird –the tea stains it, and it is always magazine-worthy in presentation– but the tastiest bird, too. Each year the turkey actually steals the show, as it should.
Start brining your turkey tonight, and if you seriously can’t get it done until tomorrow, before noon, it’s okay. It will still be divine.
- 5 lemons, divided
- 18 Earl Grey tea bags
- 11 4-inch-long rosemary sprigs, divided
- 2 cups coarse kosher salt
- 1½ cups (packed) golden brown sugar
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 12 cups ice cubes
- 2 turkey-size oven-roasting bags
- 1 22-pound turkey; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved for gravy
- 1 12¾ x 9 x 2-inch disposable aluminum pan
- 1 celery stalk, cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Bring 6½ quarts of water to boil in large pot. Remove from heat. Using vegetable peeler, remove peel from 3 lemons (yellow part only). Add peel, tea bags, and 6 rosemary sprigs to water; steep 20 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add salt and sugar; stir to dissolve. Stir in lemon juice. Cool to lukewarm. Add ice to reduce temperature to below 45°F.
- Place 1 roasting bag inside the second, forming 2 layers. Place inside large pot. Place turkey in roasting bags, breast side down. Pour brine over turkey. Tie bags tightly, eliminating any air pockets. Refrigerate 36 to 48 hours. Or, place bags into large cooler, pour brine over turkey, and tie bags securely. Pour ice over and around turkey in bags. Place lid securely on cooler. Check twice a day to ensure that turkey is covered with ice (some ice will melt). Remove top rack from grill. Place disposable aluminum baking pan in center of barbecue (if using 2-burner gas grill, place pan on 1 side of grill; if using 3-burner grill, place pan over center burner).
- Prepare barbecue (medium-low heat). If using charcoal grill, arrange coals on each side of aluminum baking pan, dividing equally. (You will need to add about 6 briquettes to each side of aluminum pan every 30 minutes to maintain temperature while cooking turkey.) If using 3-burner gas grill, light burner(s) on left and right, leaving center burner(s) off. If using 2-burner gas grill, light burner on side opposite disposable pan. Insert instant-read thermometer into top vent of grill. Maintain temperature at around 350°F.
- Drain turkey; discard brine. Pat turkey dry. Pierce 2 lemons all over with fork. Stuff turkey with lemons, 5 sprigs rosemary, celery, and onion. Tie legs together. Brush turkey all over with oil.
- Place turkey directly on grill above aluminum pan. Close grill. Adjust temperature to maintain 350°F. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, about 3 hours. Transfer turkey to platter. Tent with foil. Allow to rest 30 minutes before carving (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees). Serve with gravy.
For the recommended gravy for this recipe, which I have never tried but I’m sure is great, see: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Tea-and-Lemon-Gravy-231116
And, once more thing. We are grateful for you each day, for reading and spreading the news about StyleBlueprint. We always say this job wouldn’t be any fun without anyone reading. So, one last picture: