You simply haven’t had a proper turkey until you’ve tried a buttermilk-brined turkey, and thanks to this recipe from Food52, you’ll be quite familiar with the southern tradition of turkey preparation and enjoyment.
Ingredients for Dry Buttermilk Brined Turkey:
- ¾ to 1 cup of dry buttermilk powder, measured to about 1 tablespoon per pound of meat
- 6 to 7 tablespoons kosher salt, measured to about ½ teaspoon per pound of meat
- 2 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper, measured to about ½ teaspoon per pound of meat
- 1 12-14 pound turkey with giblets and neck removed
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 bunch of fresh oregano
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
Directions for Buttermilk Brined Turkey:
Note: If using a completely frozen turkey, it should be defrosted completely before cooking with the giblets and neck removed.
- Begin by combining your dry buttermilk powder, kosher salt, and black pepper together in a small mixing bowl.
- Then, place your turkey onto a sheet pan that’s lined with a wire rack. Using paper towels, pat the turkey completely dry all over, including the cavities. Turkeys have two cavities, which should each be completely empty and dry following this process.
- Next, sprinkle your dry buttermilk mixture evenly all over the entire turkey and pat it onto the bird in order to ensure it adheres to the skin. You can do this with your washed, bare hands or with gloves to ensure the best results.
- Afterward, transfer the uncovered turkey to the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Though, the best texture and taste will come after keeping the turkey in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Once heated, you can transfer the turkey with the breast side facing up to a clean sheet pan. During this process, discard any liquid or excess powdered buttermilk that has accumulated in the first pan. One hour prior to roasting, stuff the cavity with your fresh thyme, oregano, and the halved head of garlic. For a neater look, consider tying the legs together with kitchen twine, though it won’t affect the cooking process at all.
- Next, roast your turkey for 30 minutes. Afterward, reduce the heat to 325°F and remove the turkey from the oven and baste with any juices that have accumulated in the pan. Rosate said pan, and then return it to the oven. Continue roasting the turkey, and remember to remove it from the pan to baste every 40 to 50 minutes until your turkey registers at 165°F in the thigh. This process takes approximately 2 ½ – 3 hours.
- Because of the buttermilk, the wings and skin are going to become very dark in coloration. Though, if any area looks like it’s beginning to singe, you can make a tent with a piece of aluminum foil to keep it from doing so.
- After roasting and once the thigh reaches the internal temperature of 165°F, let your turkey rest in the sheet pan for 20 minutes and tilt the turkey to spill out any juices held in the cavity onto the sheet pan while leaving the herbs and garlic in there.
- Transfer the turkey onto a large cutting board to continue its resting until it’s cool enough to slice and carve up. This process can take up to an hour.
- At this point, you can reserve the carcass for stock, make gravy from the sheet pan drippings, etc. Serve the turkey with fresh thyme and oregano, and enjoy.
This recipe yields enough turkey to serve about 8 to 10 people, and it’s best served alongside a hearty supply of side dishes or as sandwich meat.
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