Brined Brown-Sugar Turkey is a great option for the Thanksgiving table. Brining is similar to marinating, but is primarily focused on moistening the meat as opposed to adding flavor.
Brined Brown-Sugar Turkey
Yield: 10 servings
3 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Dijon mustard
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons ground red pepper
2 quarts ice-cold water
1 ounce fresh thyme
1 head garlic
1 (10- to 12-pound) Butterball Fresh or Frozen Whole Turkey, thawed if frozen
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Combine brown sugar, mustard, salt and ground red pepper in large nonmetallic container. Gradually whisk in ice water, thyme and garlic; stir until sugar is dissolved.
2. Remove neck and giblets from body and neck cavities of turkey. Refrigerate for another use or discard. Place turkey, breast side down, in brine mixture. Cover; refrigerate overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 325F. Remove turkey from brine; pat dry with paper towels. Turn wings back to hold neck skin against back of turkey.
4. Return legs to the tucked position, if untucked. Place turkey, breast side up, on flat rack in shallow roasting pan; coat with cooking spray.
5. Roast turkey 2 hours. Then, cover breast and top of drumsticks loosely with foil to prevent overcooking. Continue roasting turkey 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until meat thermometer reaches 180F when inserted into deepest part of thigh not touching bone. (Check package for cooking times; times vary with size of turkey.)
6. Transfer turkey to cutting board; loosely tent with foil. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.
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