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Nov 23, 2016

It’s Turkey Time


Happy Thanksgiving

For many Americans or recent transplants – it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the traditional roasted turkey taking center stage on the dinner table.  But if you’re like me – I didn’t have tasty memories of the turkey growing up and even struggled with how to prepare my own later in life.  So mostly I just “winged” it, sometimes resorting to a smoked turkey or the turkey breast in order to avoid the stress of having a dry, tasteless bird on the table.

Then I discovered “brining” – a technique used by professional chefs to impart flavor and tenderness in poultry from the inside out.  Ever since then – if I do say so myself, my turkey has been a big hit on the Hodge table.  Here’s how I do it:

Easy Brined and Roasted Turkey
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy brine for a deliciously flavorful and moist turkey.
Recipe type: Poultry
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12+
  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • ¼ cup peppercorns, crushed
  • 6 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 oranges, rolled and quartered
  • 2 lemons, rolled and quartered
  • generous bunch of mixed herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, washed and bruised to release flavor
  • 1 fresh turkey
  • Roasted Turkey
  • 4 TBS softened butter
  • 1 large onion, cut in eights
  • 1 orange, cut in eights
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 pear, quartered
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 TBL salt
  • 1 TBL freshly ground pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Stir until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Place the turkey into a large container and pour in the brine solution. Remember to REMOVE the giblets packet from INSIDE the turkey! Refrigerate for 12 - 24 hours. Hint: I use our large cooler and add ice to keep the turkey and solution cold. Turn the turkey every few hours to make sure all areas are covered in the brine.
  2. When the turkey is ready to be roasted, carefully remove it from the solution and rinse inside and out to remove excess salt. Discard the brine. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels. Cook as follows:
  3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  4. Rub the turkey on all sides with the butter. Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Loosely stuff the turkey with the mixture. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string. Roast the uncovered, for 1 hour. If turkey begins to brown too quickly, tent it with heavy duty aluminum foil. Roast until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2¾ to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with veggie stock.
  5. Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.  Please let me know how it turns out.  Post picture and comments to my platforms listed below or by return email.

Here are a few more of our favorite family recipes:

Sisters Sweet Potato Pie

Rosemary Green Beans


Another suggestion for a more meaningful Thanksgiving is to set a theme for the day or season.  This year’s theme for the Hodge House is “Give Thanks!” I can’t think of a better time to continue or start this tradition.   I like to give each of us an opportunity to say what we’re thankful for.  I know this might not be an easy thing to do, in fact – you might have some resistors from within your own family.  Ask me how I know . . . But carry on with it.  It will eventually become a family tradition that everyone can recall with fond memories.  This year we will have guests for the first time.  They’ll be included in the fun.  I’ve even bought a journal to document our thoughts.   But you don’t have to have a special one.  Grab what you have, loose leaf paper, brown paper bags, that journal you bought years ago that has yet to be cracked open.  In the words of Nike – Just Do It!

Happy Thanksgiving 2016


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wife, mother, sister, friend. Business owner, writer, photographer. Yes, it's a lot but life is full of opportunites and we should take full advantage of them.
Scripture Memory Verse:
SMV: Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. Prov 16:3