We’ve eaten other’s methods of roasting turkey over the years, and none of them have ever topped the turkey you get from this recipe. The flavour and moisture levels are just out of this world! This is one of the first recipes I made when Alton Brown was teaching me to cook and it sold me on making the effort to learn everything I can from Good Eats!
For a full table weighed down with food, make this turkey, plus mashed potatoes and gravy, at least 2 vegetables (we love Green Bean Casserole), some Dinner Rolls, Deviled Eggs, and Clam Stuffed Mushrooms. For dessert, serve Pumpkin Pie, Caramel Pecan Pie, and for a change of pace from the normal apple pie, make Apple Crisp instead.
The only complaints you will get is from being “too full” “can’t move” “have to roll me home.”
Brined Roast Turkey
- 5 Gallon Bucket with Lid
- 1 frozen young turkey 14-16 lb
For the brine:
- 1 cup kosher salt
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 gallon vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1½ teaspoons allspice berries
- 1½ teaspoons chopped candied ginger
- 1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
- 1 red apple , sliced
- ½ onion , sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup water
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 6 sage leaves
- olive oil
2 to 3 days before roasting:
- Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38°f.
- Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:
- Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5 gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
- Preheat the oven to 500°f. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
- Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
- Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with olive oil.
- Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500°f for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350°f. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 151°f. A 14 -16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2½ hours of roasting.
- Ones the turkey shows 151°f, remove from oven and slightly, and carefully, loosen the foil around the edges of the pan. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes before carving.