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From the kitchen of Lorie Fangio

Let’s Talk Turkey and No Fail Cream Gravy

Everyone wants their turkey to be the star of the Thanksgiving meal.  Most of us cook a turkey only once a year so producing a succulent, beautifully browned bird can involve some guess work.  After years of trying every strategy invented, I believe the best solution to a juicy turkey is starting with a wet brine solution.  Although it can be a tad messy, the investment will yield juicy dividends!

Wet Brined Turkey 12-18 Pounds


2 gallons water

1 ¼ cups kosher salt

1 cup sugar

8 whole cloves garlic

1 tablespoon pepper corns

2 onions cut in quarters

2 sprigs rosemary

2 sprigs thyme


12-18 pound turkey

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 onion quartered

1 orange cut in wedges

1 celery stalk cut in pieces

2 sprigs rosemary

To prepare the brine, bring 1 gallon of water to a boil with salt and sugar, cook until all is dissolved.  Add all remaining ingredients and remove from heat.  Dilute solution with remaining gallon of water.  When the water is completely cool; pour it into a large zip top bag or doubled trash bag inside a plastic tub.  Submerge the turkey in the cool water.  Zip the bag and place turkey tub in the refrigerator for 6 hours.  Remove the turkey and discard the brine solution.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Let turkey come to room temperature about 30 minutes.  Pat the bird down with paper towels until it is completely dry and place it into a roasting pan fitted with a with a wire rack in the bottom.  Stuff the cavity of the turkey with onions, orange, celery and rosemary.  Brush the entire surface of the turkey with butter. Place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and place the turkey in the oven.  Turn the oven down to 325 degrees after the first 30 minutes of cooking.  Cook turkey roughly 15 minutes per pound.  Be sure to test the thickest part of the breast to ensure it reaches a minimum temperature of 165 degrees.

Turkey Tips

-Be sure your turkey is completely thawed before beginning the brine

-Brine the turkey to insure it’s tender and juicy

-Brine should be completely cooled before submerging the turkey

-It is not recommended to brine longer than 6 hours, if you do, wash the bird to remove excess salt

-Let the turkey come to room temp before cooking, 30-45 minutes

-For golden brown skin, pat dry very well and brush with melted butter before cooking

-If you brine, don’t add more salt

-No need to baste!

-Let turkey rest 20-45 minutes before carving 

No Fail Cream Gravy

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 ½ cups chicken or turkey stock

1 cup milk

Salt and pepper

Melt butter in the bottom of a sauce pan, add flour and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, warm the chicken stock and milk together in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Add liquid to flour mixture whisking vigorously and cook until thick. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: For brown gravy, cook the butter and flour mixture 5-6 minutes until it is medium brown in color, then proceed with recipe.



For more of Lorie’s recipes, visit our McKinney Kitchens page.

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