Sunday morning- I bought a 20lb all natural beauty from Trader Joe's.
Defrosted for three days. Partly frozen, it had until Tuesday night.
I then put in a giant ziploc bag with a solution of saltwater, maple syrup, raw sugar, lemon juice, a couple bay leaves, and thyme.
In the brine for about 12 hours.
Wednesday afternoon, out of the brine. Rinsed thoroughly. Outside and in the cavity. No stuffing this time. I wanted to keep it all meat.
Cooked for about 1 hour, 15 minutes at 400 degrees to burn off the surface bacteria and brown the skin. Then we got down to the business of slow cooking. Now, this was Wednesday afternoon at around 3. A full day before Thanksgiving dinner. I lowered the oven to 200 degrees. The turkey cooked all night and into Thursday. Around 10am I raised the oven to 225. I was a little leery of under cooking since I had not tried this slow cooking method before. So I raised the temperature again to 250 and then to 350. I think next time I'll keep it low. Cooked until 2pm. A full 25 hours. The meat thermometer read 185. Let it sit for 30 minutes. My boyfriend carved the bird. We served it with homemade Cranberry sauce. I had never made cranberry sauce from scratch before. Wow! Not hard and so much better than the canned stuff. All you do is put a cup of orange juice in a pan (I squeezed my own!). A cup of raw sugar and 12 oz of fresh cranberries. Melt the sugar, simmer and stir until the cranberries begin to pop*. Refrigerate and the sauce will thicken.
Thanksgiving dinner was held around 3. Dinner was delicious. All Thanksgiving staples were served. Mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green bean casserole, sweet potato and apple casserole, garlic bread. All that mouth watering food covered our table and everyone had enough to eat. We sat around the table- my boyfriend, his mom and brother and me. Ate, talked, ate, laughed, ate... A Good time.