Prepping the Turkey

Friends –

We are just two weeks away from our family’s Christmas Eve dinner, and my husband has checked in on my “turkey stress management” about 192 times. You see, my first attempt at a Thanksgiving turkey was downright perfect.

So the bar has been set high. And our family has requested an encore.

I took on quite the challenge for my first turkey and used a 24 hour from-scratch brine recipe highlighted in Danielle Walker’s cookbook Celebrations.  While it seemed daunting, the recipe was quite simple and produced the best turkey I’ve ever tasted – honestly.

Here are the ingredients I most recommend in crafting a great brine:

  • 1/4 cup of salt (this seemed crazy to me but it really did help!)
  • bottle of dry white wine (another one that surprised me but a game changer in flavor)
  • real whole spices like sage, bay leaves, rosemary and whole peppercorns (don’t go for the mixed seasonings)

After brining the turkey in the fridge for 24 hours, I basted it with ghee and stuffed it with whole carrots, one onion, celery stalks and bay leaves. Without any broth or additional brine, I put it in the oven for 300 minutes at 500 degrees. Thereafter, I reduced the temperature to 350 degrees for another two hours until the internal temperature was appropriate (I recommend getting a high quality meat thermometer and researching temperatures based on location measurement). I basted the turkey every 30 minutes or so, and the end result was pure magic.

What are some of your “turkey tips” my friends? Send me your holiday recipes in advance of Christmas Eve – I just might test one out!

Happy cooking,


Photo credit: “Celebrations” – Danielle Walker, Against All GrainPhoto credit: “Celebrations” – Danielle Walker, Against All Grain
Photo credit: “Celebrations” – Danielle Walker, Against All Grain
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