Spotted Cow goes with everything especially turkey. My ‘Spotted Cow’ brined turkey has quickly become a Friendsgiving staple and always receives rave reviews. Now if you’re not a turkey expert you are probably wondering what is brining and why do we do it. The spark notes response is that brining is soaking meat (in this case turkey) in a salt/water mixture to help it absorb extra moisture and flavors. Brining makes it WAY easier to avoid making a dry turkey.
Before you get started there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind. When you’re picking your turkey, make sure that it is not pre-brined (usually they are labeled “kosher,” “enhanced,” or “self-basting”). Some store-bought birds are already brined, and you don’t want to add extra salt by brining the turkey again. Make sure you have a large enough container or purchase a brining bag to soak your turkey
1 defrosted 12 Pound turkey
Spotted Cow Brine
10 Cups Water
1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar
4 Bay Leaves
4 cloves garlic (whole)
4 Spotted Cows
2 cups ice cubes
Rub cavity with salt and pepper
3 sprigs of Thyme
3 sprigs of Sage
3 sprigs of Rosemary
5 whole garlic cloves
4 tbsp butter
1 stick (½ cup) of butter
2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Paprika
2 tsp black pepper
Step 1: Brine
Add water, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, sage, thyme, garlic, and bay leaves to a pot and bring to a boil (stirring occasionally).
Once the mixture is boiling, turn it off and let it cool to room temperature.
Add four spotted cows to the cooled mixture. Then stir in two cups of ice cubes.
Put your turkey in the brine bag or container you are using and pour in all of the liquid. Make sure you have taken the giblets out of the turkey. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Flip over the turkey 2-3 times within the 24 hours.
Step 2: Prep the Turkey
Now that your turkey is brined take it out of the brining mixture and pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
First prepare the rub by mixing the Paprika, Salt, and Pepper. Then set aside.
Next you will want to slice the butter into small pieces. Start separating the turkey skin from the meat and put butter between the skin and meat. Here is a useful video on how to do this. The butter will make the skin crispy and help prevent the turkey from drying out.
After you have used up the stick of butter now, it is time to stuff the cavity. I like to slice the pears and lemon in quarters. First, rub the cavity with salt and pepper. Then toss in the butter and garlic cloves. Finally stuff the cavity with the rosemary, sage, thyme, lemons, and pears. I try to distribute the ingredients evenly.
Finally, rub the turkey skin with the Paprika, Salt, and Pepper mixture. Then transfer your turkey to its baking pan. I first wet the cheesecloth with a little water then cover the turkey with the cheesecloth. The purpose of using the cheesecloth is to keep the turkey from drying out. Put the turkey in the oven.
Step 3: Cook the Turkey
Because I use cheesecloth I do not baste my turkey often. Basting is taking the cooking juices and applying them over the turkey with a baster. The reasoning behind basting is to prevent the turkey from drying out. For your actual turkey cooking time, it depends on the size of the turkey. The rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound.
Thirty minutes before your turkey is done take off the cheesecloth and baste with the juices that have gathered at the bottom of the pan.
To determine if the turkey is fully cooked use a meat thermometer to register the temperature at the thickest part (I usually check near a wing or thigh). It will register 160 degrees Fahrenheit when ready.
Once you take the turkey out of the oven cover with aluminum foil and let it ‘rest’ for thirty minutes before carving.