Sunday, November 20, 2011

Salt Cured Turkey (Dry-Brined) - Day 4 Cooking Day!

Let me just start this with......OH MY GOSH THAT IS SO GOOD!  Yes, I just tasted the turkey and it is so good and juicy.....heaven!  

The fourth day is cooking day and in the end, as you can see above, the wait is definitely worth it.

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and remove it from the bag if you didn't do so the night before.  If you didn't remove the turkey from the bag at the end of day three then pat it dry with paper towels.  Place the turkey in your toasting pan, I like to use a wrack to allow the drippings to drop below the turkey and not make the meat at the bottom of the bird soggy.

Set turkey, in pan on the counter and allow it to set for about an hour.  Bringing the meat closer to room temperature helps it cook more evenly.

Combine the following in a bowl:

4 Tablespoons of butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Separate the skin from the breast meat by gently working your hand in between the skin and the meat. If you are going to stuff the turkey now would be the time to do so or you could do like I did and throw in a few pealed garlic cloves and two onions, quartered and make your stuffing in another pan.  Under the skin place about 1-1/2 Tablespoons of the softened butter mixture and spread it the top half the the breasts by patting the top of the skin.  Rub the remaining butter mixture over the the rest of the turkey concentrating on the breasts and legs.  

Place meat thermometer in the thickest part the the leg and place it in the oven on the rack at lower third of the oven.  Cook at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.  Turn down the oven to 325 degrees and cook until the thermometer reads 165 degrees (about 12 minutes per pound not stuffed and about 15 minutes per pound stuffed).  Do not baste the turkey while it is cooking.  Remove turkey from the oven and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the juices to settle in the meat.  Cut and serve your turkey.  Enjoy!

(Not the clearest picture, sorry I was really excited!)

As you can see my oldest son was ready and waiting to be a taste tester.  His comments were "really juicy" and "this is really good" so I think we have a winner!  As a side note, I think I have the most handsome taste tester/model around. (wink)

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