Turkey and Gravy: Bourbon-Brown Sugary Turkey from Chef Bobby Huber of Steinhilbers Restaurant

From Executive Chef Bobby Huber
SteinhilberÂ’s Restaurant, Virginia Beach www.steinys.com


2 quarts water
5 bay leaves
20 whole black peppercorns
2 cups sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
10 cloves garlic
1 onion, coarsely chopped


2 ounces butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
2 Granny Smith apples, cut in quarters
1 orange, cut in quarters


6 carrots
4 stalks celery
2 onions, cut in half
5 cloves garlic


1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup brown sugar
1 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
Zest of one orange
Zest of one lemon


4 ounces butter
6 ounces flour
1 ounce dry sherry
6 cups chicken stock


Begin by making brine: add all ingredients to a stockpot and bring to a boil; remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature. Strain ingredients and place in container large enough for brine and turkey; this can be a cooler, in which ice is continually added to keep the turkey below the temperature danger zone, or in a container that will fit in the refrigerator. Brine the turkey at least 12 hours, but no more than 24 hours.

Remove turkey from brine and drain the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the aromatic stuffing ingredients and use about 18 inches of butcherÂ’s twine to tie a tight figure eight around the drumsticks and truss the cavity closed.

Preheat the oven to 425F. In a roasting pan fitted with a rack, place the aromatics noted for sitting under the bird in the bottom, place the rack atop, and place a large oiled piece of parchment paper atop the rack. Place the turkey breast side down on top of the parchment paper-lined rack.

If you do not have a rack for your roasting pan, place the vegetables in the bottom of the pan, place the oiled parchment paper directly atop the vegetables, and the turkey, breast side down, on top of the parchment paper.

Roast at 425F for 45 minutes, then remove from the oven and carefully flip the turkey using the parchment paper as a sling. Return the turkey to the rack or atop the aromatic vegetables; discard the parchment paper. Cover the turkey with a foil tent and reduce the heat to 325F for about 2 hours and begin making the glaze.

After 2 hours, remove the turkey from the oven and the foil tent and glaze the turkey, returning to the oven to cook an additional 10 minutes. Repeat this an additional two times or until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the turkey reads 175F. Remove the turkey and allow to rest 20-30 minutes on a cutting board before carving, and while waiting, make the gravy.


Combine all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat until use.


Remove the aromatic vegetables from the roasting pan and put the roasting pan on a stovetop burner and add butter and bring to a boil. Whisk in flour, stirring continually to dissolve and incorporate, about 1 minute, then add the sherry and chicken stock while stirring. Return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, about 15-20 minutes.

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