Here are some tips for keeping your turkey juicy and flavorful. I've also provided my favorite brining recipe!
* Do it breast down. Yeah, that's what I said. Let your bird roast breast side down for the first two hours. This will allow some of the fat and brine in the bird to pool in the white meat, which is the dryest part of the bird.
* Baste! The skin of the turkey can dry out and become bitter. Basting will cool the surface of the skin and provide moisture.
* Tie it up. Tying the legs of your turkey together may seem like an insignificant detail, but this step is really important. The thigh meat is the most tender area of the bird and it will start to pull away from the bird if left hanging. Not only will this make your bird less pretty to look at, but it will allow precious moisture to cook away.
* Rub it down. Seasoning your turkey is a fruitless effort if you are just going to wash it all away when you baste. Rub your turkey with seasonings under the skin instead. You'll be amazed at the difference in flavor.
* Brine, Brine, Brine! Brining your turkey will allow the bird to become engorged with flavorful liquid. So even after you've been cooking that turkey for hours, there will still be enough liquid in there for a tender, juicy texture.
Cider Brined Turkey
½ gallon apple cider
1 quart hard cider
1 quart chicken broth
1 gallon ice water
2 cups sea salt
½ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons thyme
1 tablespoon ground cloves
In a large pot, heat broth, apple cider, hard cider, sugar and salt until sugar and salt dissolve. Do not boil it!
Remove from heat and add remaining seasonings. Let steep for 5 minutes. Add ice water and allow brine to reach room temperature.
Soak 10-12 pound turkey in brine for at least 8 hours.