Thanksgiving Turkey the K-Way
Recipe type: Poultry
Cuisine: American
A wonderful brined turkey with the lively flavors of K-Sauce
  • 1 fresh turkey, about 14-15 pounds to serve 10-12 people, or 1 fresh turkey about 20-25 pounds to serve 18-22 people. Note* see different roasting procedure for larger bird.
  • Brine:
  • One cup Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup K-1 Keenan’s Original Killer sauce
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon candied ginger
  • 1 gallon iced water
  • Aromatics:
  • 2 red apples, chopped coarse
  • 2 medium onions, chopped coarse
  • 3 celery stalks, with leaves, chopped coarse
  • 3 carrots, chopped coarse
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary 6
  • 6 leaves fresh sage
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups melted butter
  1. Combine all the brine ingredients except the iced water, in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir to dissolve ingredients and simmer for ½ hour. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature and then thoroughly chill in refrigerator.
  2. The night before cooking the turkey, combine the chilled brine and iced water in a clean
  3. gallon bucket. Place the turkey breast side down in the bucket and completely cover
  4. with brine. Cover the bucket and place in a cool place (40-45 degrees or so), like the
  5. garage or basement. Allow the turkey to soak overnight.
  6. The next morning remove the turkey from the brine and thoroughly rinse it, including both body cavities, with cold water until all traces of salt are gone. Pat the turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and heat to 400 degrees.
  7. Place half of the apples, onions, celery, and carrots in a microwave proof dish along with 1 cup of water, ½ cup of melted butter and the cinnamon stick. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the steeped aromatics to the cavity along with half of the rosemary, sage and thyme. Truss the legs closed using twine, if you purchased a turkey that was not already trussed. Scatter the remaining vegetables and herbs inside a shallow roasting pan. Pour 1 cup of water over the vegetables and herbs. Brush the entire breast side of the turkey with half the remaining melted butter. Place a V-rack in the roasting pan and place the turkey breast side dawn on the rack. Brush the entire backside of the turkey with the remaining butter.
  9. Roast the turkey for 45 minutes and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Baste the back with the pan juices. Continue to roast the turkey breast side down for another 45 minutes, basting every 20 minutes or so. If the liquid in pan has totally evaporated, add about a cup of water.
  10. After 1 ½ hours of roasting, grasp each leg with a wad of paper towels and turn the turkey over. Baste the breast side and continue to roast, basting every 20 minutes, until the breast reads about 165 degrees with an instant read thermometer. The thigh should register about 170 to 175 degrees. Remove the turkey and allow it to rest at least ½ hour before carving.
  11. For a larger bird:
  12. Follow the recipe above, but roast the larger turkey breast side down in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours, basting every half an hour or so. The turn the breast side up and roast for another hour, basting twice. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast until the breast reads about 165 degrees with an instant read thermometer and the thigh registers about 170 to 175 degrees, about 1 hour longer.
  13. K-5 Turkey Gravy
  14. Chicken stock (as needed)
  15. Butter for roux (if needed)
  16. Flour for roux (if needed)
  17. K-5 Killer Chipotle Sauce
  18. Salt (to taste)
  19. Pepper (to taste)
  20. Great turkey deserves a great gravy! This one takes advantage of the fruits, vegetables and herbs you roasted the turkey with. The flavors of the aromatics that contributed to the turkey can now be incorporated into the gravy to add delightful flavors and complexity to this important part of Thanksgiving dinner.
  21. After roasting the turkey, and removing it from the roasting pan, remove all the aromatics, apples and vegetables from the turkey cavity and place in the bottom of the roasting pan along with the ones already in pan. Place the roasting pan on an open burner (or two, depending on size of pan) and heat the vegetables on high until simmering. Add the chicken stock (this may range from a quart or so, up to a gallon, depending on how many people you are serving) and deglaze the pan, stirring vigorously to scrape the caramelized fond from the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat. Remove the stems of any herbs you used from the stock mixture and discard.
  22. Place the vegetable and stock combination in a blender and blend in batches until smooth and lump-free. Transfer the stock mixture into an appropriately sized stock pot. In some cases (depending on the roasting time of your particular turkey) the apples, vegetables and aromatics will provide enough thickening to your gravy that additional thickening may not be necessary. If you prefer a thicker gravy, use an appropriate amount of butter and flour to form a roux and thicken as desired. Bring the gravy to a simmer before slowly stirring in the roux.
  23. Finish the gravy with K-5 sauce. I find that 1-2 tablespoons (again depending on how much gravy you are making) adds a terrific hint of smokiness and layers of flavors to the gravy. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot and enjoy!
Please note that the cooking times will vary depending on the size of the turkey and your individual oven. Learn to depend on your thermometer. The best set up is to have a remote digital thermometer so that you can keep your eye on it while the turkey is still in the oven. I really like the Polder remote digital thermometer, as it has a time and temperature alarm and you don't have to open the oven to check the temperature. Ideally, you would have two of these thermometers, with one probe in the deepest part of the breast and the other in the deepest part of the thigh. If you don't have the Polder, you can certainly use an instant read type and check the breast and thigh in succession.
The trick here is to not over-cook the breast. That is typically the downfall of most roast turkeys. By roasting the bird breast down for a period, you allow the back and thigh to get ahead of the breast in the process, keeping the breast moist and just done, when the thigh is ready.
The USDA recommends that you cook a turkey to a thigh temperature of 180 to 185 degrees. That means the breast temperature would be better than 170 degrees. Don't follow that advice unless you like eating cardboard. The best temperature for the breast is 160 to 165 degrees. The USDA is paranoid about killing bacteria such as salmonella. According to their own standards, salmonella is killed in meat at 160 degrees. They are concerned about getting the internal temperature of the bread stuffing in a stuffed turkey over 160 degrees. The solution is simple. Don't stuff your birds and keep the breast temp to 160-165 degrees and the thigh to 170-175. Enjoy a moist turkey!
Recipe by K-Sauce at