To each his (or her) own

November 19, 2003

Chef Beverly Bonebrake, instructor in the culinary arts department at Washington County Technical High School, likes to soak her turkey in brine before cooking it. Here's her recipe:

Chef Bonebrake's Brined Turkey

  • Whole turkey, up to 18 pounds, thawed

  • 1 1/2 cups Kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

  • 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate

  • 1 gallon cold water and 1 gallon ice, or enough to cover turkey in a large, deep pot

Mix salt, brown sugar and orange juice into water in large pot. Add ice. Submerge turkey - make sure you've removed the giblets - into brine. The turkey should be completely covered with water and ice. Cover the pot with a lid. Refrigerate 6 to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove turkey from brine. Discard brine. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Rub bird with canola oil. Place turkey breast side up in roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching bone. Roast, uncovered, at 500 degrees for 30 minutes to brown turkey. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Tent turkey loosely with aluminum foil. Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 161 to 165 degrees, generally between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.


Clear Spring resident Austin Prejean favors this spicy Cajun-style marinade for his deep-fried turkey. He credits the recipe to his brother-in-law, Ronnie Young, of Louisiana.

Ronnie Young's Fried Turkey Marinade

  • 6 1/2 ounces salt

  • Pinch of sage

  • 4 ounces Creole seasoning

  • 2 ounces Accent

  • 20-ounce bottle Italian dressing

  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke

  • 10 ounces Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 ounce red hot sauce

  • 1/2 ounce onion juice

  • 1/2 ounce liquid garlic

  • Whole turkey, thawed with giblets removed, up to 12 pounds

  • 3 1/2 to 5 gallons of peanut oil, enough to cover bird completely

Dilute salt, sage, Creole seasoning and Accent in 3 cups warm water. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Strain marinade through cheese cloth to remove solids. Use marinade syringe to inject marinade into turkey. (Prejean uses 5 to 6 ounces of marinade per injection, and injects the breast about eight times and each leg about five times.) For best results, insert injector at different angles through the same hole. Refrigerate turkey overnight. Cook turkey in peanut oil at 325 degrees in a turkey fryer. Recommended frying time is 3 minutes per pound.

Basic Turkey Gravy

  • Neck, heart, liver and gizzard from turkey

  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 medium celery rib, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided

  • 3 tablespoons fat from turkey drippings

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • Pepper to taste

Place neck, heart, gizzard, vegetables and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 3-quart saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add liver and cook 15 minutes more. Strain broth into a large bowl; cover and reserve broth in the refrigerator.

To make gravy, remove the cooked turkey and roasting rack from the roasting pan. Pour poultry drippings through a sieve into a 4-cup measuring cup. Add 1 cup giblet broth to the roasting pan and stir until the crusty brown bits are loosened. Pour the deglazed liquid/broth into the 4-cup measure. Let the mixture stand a few minutes, until the fat rises to the top.

Over medium heat, spoon 3 tablespoons fat from the poultry drippings into a 2-quart saucepan. Whisk flour and salt into the heated fat and continue to cook and stir until the flour turns golden. Meanwhile, skim and discard any fat that remains on top of the poultry drippings. Add remaining broth and enough water to the poultry drippings to equal 3 1/2 cups. Gradually whisk in warm poultry drippings/broth mixture. Cook and stir, until gravy simmers and is slightly thick. Season to taste.

Serves 14, 1/4 cup each.

- Source: National Turkey Federation at

Guilt-Free Turkey Gravy

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 4 cups turkey broth and defatted pan juices

  • Salt and pepper to taste

To defat pan juices, pour poultry drippings into a glass measuring cup and refrigerate until the fat solidifies. Remove the fat layer and discard. Bring turkey broth and defatted pan juices to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, blend the cornstarch and water until smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly add the cornstarch mixture to turkey broth/juices and continue stirring until the gravy is thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 16, 1/4-cup each.

- Source: National Turkey Federation at

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