This is the best way to roast a turkey. Called by some “foolproof roast turkey,” this method turns bland, dry turkey meat into something moist and flavorful. You might even “save” a holiday from an all-out family brawl with this recipe. Just keep everyone’s mouths satisfied, busy savoring the juicy meat, so that no one’s mouth is open long enough to say something that might hurt someone else.
If you plan to use this method, this weekend is when to start the process to be ready by Thursday. Sunday is a good target day for a frozen bird. A fresh bird will need to soak a maximum of 72 hours.
- 2 gallons water
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 celery rib, coarsely c hopped
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped and washed
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 imported bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1-tablespoon coriander seeds
- ½-teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 star anise (optional)
- 1 12-14 pound organic free-range turkey, giblets, liver and neck reserved for another use
- 1-tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 large rosemary branches, tied together to make a brush for basting
How to make the brine
- In a large stockpot, bring 1 gallon of the water to a boil.
- Stir in the salt and sugar until completely dissolved.
- Turn off the heat and add the onions, carrot, celery, leek, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, coriander and fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and star anise, if using.
- Stir in the remaining 1-gallon cold water. Let the brine cool completely, then refrigerate until cold.
- Rise the turkey inside and out with cold water.
- Carefully place the turkey in the brine.
- To keep the turkey submerged in the brine, place a weight such as a heavy plate or pot lid on top of the bird. Refrigerate for 72 hours.
- Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry (discard the brine).
- Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan and rub all over with olive oil.
- Let sit for 1 hour to come to room temperature.
How to roast your brined turkey
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Roast until the turkey starts to brown, about 25 minutes.
- Turn down the oven to 350 and roast about 10 minutes per pound, for a total of 2-21/2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 160 degrees F.
- As the turkey roasts, baste frequently with the pan juices, with the rosemary brush.
- If the bird begins to darken too much, cover loosely with foil.
- Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer to a serving platter, and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
My little boy says, every time we open the fridge, “Our Turkey is taking a bath.”