Re: Doing a brine for the first time
That looks to be about the perfect yard bird. I became a fan of brining over the summer. I swear I won't do any poultry any more without the brine. I've experimented with different flavors and it has just absolutely become an absolutely necessary step.
The maple and butter, I saw this in a magazine about 7 years ago. Every Thanksgiving turkey has been done this way since (and quite a few chickens). I use a stick of butter and about yea much of maple syrup. First you heat it up, then you inject it through the bird. I tent the bird until it's close to the end and then un-tent (is that a word??) and then use the remaining maple & butter to get that nice brown hue and crisp skin. Last time I made a turkey I think my son at all the skin!
One note on the maple syrup. Just about all you can get in the store is grade a dark amber which has an ok maple flavor. If you really want a great maple flavor you'll need to order grade B on line or I think a few health food stores carry it (it's actually healthier than the refined grade a's). Below is a link to a website, it's not where I ordered my last jugs from, but they're probably all about the same price...http://vermonttradewinds.com/maple.htm
One note, this makes an excellent gravy, slightly sweet and mapley. When you put your leftover gravy in a container in the fridge it will render the butter into a solid and you'll be able to take it off if you desire. Last time I had it in a square 4x4 container, probably about a quart and the fat was like over an inch thick...It was great the night before, but re-heats were less that butter (but still great!!)