Friday, November 29, 2013


Citrus Chinese Spiced Turkey

This is the best turkey recipe ever!  Well at least in my opinion. Possibly even better than my Photastic Vietnamese Turkey recipe.  This turkey was so juicy and tender.  There is a lot of prep work but you will end up with an amazing turkey that your guests will rave about.  I started off with a Citrus Chinese spiced brine and glazed the turkey with a hoisin glaze. 

  • 1(16-20-pound) fresh turkey, rinsed & patted dry, with neck & giblets reserved for stock.
 For the Chinese Spiced Brine:
  • 12 cups (3/4 to 1 gallon) apple cider
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 whole bay leaves
  • 8 whole star anise pods
  • 3 Tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon allspice berries
  • 1 Tablespoon Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 3 4-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 12 cups (3/4 to 1 gallon) chilled water
For the Citrus Onion Aromatics:
  • 2 large oranges, cut into wedges with rind intact
  • 2 large lemons, cut into wedges with rind intact
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges with rind intact
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into wedges with skin intact 

 For the compound butter:
  • Zest from one large Orange
  • 1/2 cup soft butter 
For the Hoisin glaze:
  • 3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1 12-quart stockpot, with lid
  • 1 large roasting pan, without lid
  • 1 large brining bag
  • 1 meat thermometer
  • aluminum foil

Prepare the Chinese Spiced Brine: In a large 12-quart stock pot, bring (12 cups) apple cider, salt, garlic, herbs and spices to a boil. Stir occasionally to dissolve salt. Remove from heat. Add (12 cups) chilled water to cool liquid slightly. 

Prepare the Brine with Citrus & Onion Infusion: After the Chinese Spiced Brine has cooled somewhat (no longer very hot, but still very warm), squeeze citrus wedges into the liquid adding each rind after expelling juices. Next, add onion wedges and stir. Cover stockpot and allow the brine to steep. Cool to room temperature. (This will take a few hours.) If preparing brine the day before brining turkey, chill brine in refrigerator until ready to use. 

Assemble the Turkey & Brine in Brining Bag: Open zip-top brining bag wide and insert into large roasting pan with high sides. Using a large liquid measure (I use my 2-cup glass measure), scoop some of the brine and place it into bottom of large brining bag. Insert the turkey over the brine breast side up. Using a slotted spoon, place some citrus and onion wedges into the cavity of the bird and continue to add the remaining brining liquid over the turkey in the brining bag. Carefully close zip-top and expel as much air as possible. (It helps to have two sets of hands at this point.) Gather top of brining bag and twist. Secure brining bag at the top so that brine covers entire turkey, tie bag closed. Transfer roasting pan, with turkey and brine in brining bag, to refrigerator. Soak turkey for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days. 

Prepare the Turkey for Roasting the Night Before: The night before you plan to roast your turkey, remove it from brining solution; discard brine and brining bag. Pat the bird thoroughly with paper towels to dry completely inside and out.  Loosen skin on breast of turkey being careful to not break the skin evenly smooth compound butter over turkey breast under skin, refrigerate it overnight uncovered in the roasting pan.

Roasting: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit.  Loosely place onion and orange wedges (use your zested orange) into turkey cavity. Place a loose foil tent on top of turkey.  Roast turkey till internal temperature reaches 170 degrees at it's deepest point (part of the thigh, nearly to the hip joint, but taking care not to touch the bone).  Remove turkey from oven, remove foil tent and baste with hoisin glaze.  Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Place uncovered turkey back into oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Reglaze if necessary and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Let turkey rest for at least 1/2 an hour before carving.


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