Local culinary instructor at GCSC shares Thanksgiving turkey tips

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) - Thanksgiving is a little more than a week away. Jordan McCool joined us live from Gulf Coast State College's culinary program with some tips on preparing the perfect turkey.

First, Chef Denise Crider says it is important to brine your turkey. This helps keep your bird tender, flavorful, and juicy. Turkey is a lean protein and cooking it for a long period of time can sometimes result in it becoming dry.

Then, prep the turkey for roasting. To see this step in action, watch Jordan's full interview attached to this article. The process shows how a mire poix, compound butter and basting go together to create a full-flavored dish.

When the cooking process is complete, you should have a beautiful finished product.

Here's the full recipe and steps:

1. Brine:
8 qts Water
1 qt Apple Cider
2 Cup Kosher Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Large Onion, diced
1 Large Carrot, diced
3 Ribs Celery, diced
8 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Bunch Rosemary
1/2 Bunch Sage
8 Bay Leaves
1 Turkey

Method:
Add salt to water and stir until completely dissolved
Combine remainder of the ingredients to brine in a large container. Add turkey and let it brine in the refrigerator any time between
8 – 48 hrs.
Note: If you cannot fit the turkey in your refrigerator, you can brine in a cooler large enough to hold the turkey and two bags of ice.
- Place turkey in a large brining bag, these can be found in any grocery store
- Remove as much air from the bag as possible and securely tie closed
- Add two bags of unopened ice to the cooler and change out as often as needed.

**You must maintain the cooler at 40° to safely brine using this method

2.Preparing and Roasting the Turkey
Ingredients:
Herb Mix:
1/2 Bunch Fresh Rosemary Leaves; finely chopped
1/2 Bunch Fresh Sage; leaves finely chopped
1/2# Unsalted Butter; room temperature
Kosher Salt

Vegetable Mix:
1 Large Onion, cut into 1/2” dice
1 Large Carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2” dice
2 Ribs Celery, cut into 1/2” dice
4 Cloves Garlic, smashed
2 Granny Smith Apples, cut into 1/2” dice
5 Bay Leaves
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Bunch Thyme
Kosher Salt
1 qt Chicken Stock, divide
2 Cups Apple Cider, divided
1/2 – 3/4 Cup AP Flour

Method:
Remove the turkey from the brine the night before roasting and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels
In a medium bowl, combine rosemary, sage and butter for the herb crust
Work the butter under the skin of the turkey and massage it into the breasts and legs. Massage the butter on the outside of the skin as well
Preparing Vegetable Mix for Roasting: Put the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, apples, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and thyme in a roasting pan and season with salt
Arrange turkey on top of the vegetables and refrigerate overnight uncovered. This will help skin dry out and become really brown

3. Turkey Day
Method:
Remove the turkey from the brine the night before roasting and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels
Preheat the oven to 450°
Put 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until the skin gets really nice and brown, about 40 min
Lower the oven temperature to 350° for the remainder of cooking time.
Baste the turkey every 45 min or so and add more stock to the roasting pan if needed.
Cook turkey 17 min per pound. Once it gets to the proper color, tend the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark
Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer registers 165°. Make sure the thermometer is not touching a bone when reading. Transfer bird to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil
Gravy: Strain all the vegetables over a bowl to separate them from the stock/cider mixture. Discard the vegetables, skim off the fat and add it to the roasting pan (this is the fat for the roux)
Put the roasting pan over 2 burners and over low heat and whisk in the flour a bit at a time until you have a “wet sand” mixture about 4-5 min
Slowly whisk in the remaining 1 cup of apple cider, remaining chicken stock and the stock/cider mixture
Cook until the mixture has thickened and reached gravy consistency. Check for seasoning

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