Why did I make a 20 lb turkey for Sunday dinner do you ask? Because I wanted to ask myself the question, to brine or not to brine. I have always brined, because I always want to do things the best way, not the easiest way . . . usually. But frankly, brining is a big pain the rear. My turkey from last year was really good no doubt, but was it the brine? perhaps. So I have been reading turkey recipes and putting my ear to wind every time I hear turkey. So many different ways to do things, cook it upside down, deep fry it, buy a pre brined turkey, inject it . .bla bla bla. Which one shall I try first? What sang to me the most was putting butter and herbs under the skin of the turkey between the breast and the skin.
So this is what I did. The night before I made an herb butter with a stick of butter, three cloves garlic minced, about a teaspoon of sage, thyme and rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I mixed the butter and herbs together and rolled it into a loaf in parchment paper, and put it in the fridge. The next morning before church, I preheated the oven to 325 degrees. I rinsed the turkey and patted it dry. I seasoned the cavity with salt and pepper and stuffed it with stuffing. Next, sliced my herbed butter loaf into thin slices. I loosened the skin from the breast of the turkey gently and slid butter under the skin all over the turkey. I put it in the roasting pan, coated the top of the skin with olive oil and liberally salt and peppered it. Then I put it in the oven and roasted it for about 4-1/2 t0 5 hours. 2 of those hours were uncovered the rest were covered. I used a digital thermometer to make sure it read 165 degrees (it actually was about 170)
I have to say, it was a great turkey. Moist and flavorful. I felt so much easier not to brine! and I couldn't really see a difference. That being said, I must admit I am not a turkey officianato. Turkey is merely a vehicle to plate all the other great things for thanksgiving, as far as I am concerned. Its no beef tenderloin if you catch my drift.
So this year, I am not going to brine. Its a pain. Hope not to disappoint.