Ingredients

1 (14-16 lb.) fresh turkey*

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1½ tsp. allspice berries
  • 1½ tsp. chopped candied ginger (I omitted)
  • 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 leaves sage
  • Canola oil
  • step 1: HideShow Images

    To prepare the brine, combine the salt, brown sugar, vegetable stock, peppercorns, allspice and ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the solids.  Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until ready to use.

  • step 2: HideShow Images

    The night before you plan to serve the turkey, combine the brine and ice water in a 5 gallon bucket (or larger for a bigger bird).  Place the thawed turkey (innards removed) breast side down in the brine.  If necessary, weigh down the bird so it is fully immersed.  Cover and refrigerate or set in a cool area for 8-16 hours, turning once halfway through brining.

  • step 3: HideShow Images

    Preheat the oven to 500˚ F.  Remove the bird from the brine and rinse inside and out with cold water.  Discard the brine.  (Be sure to clean out your sink well after this step!)  Place the bird on the wire rack inside a roasting pan.  Pat dry with paper towels.

  • step 4: HideShow Images

    Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick and  1 cup water in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Add the steeped aromatics to the cavity of the turkey along with the rosemary and sage.  Tuck the wings underneath the bird and brush the skin liberally with canola oil.

  • step 5: HideShow Images

    Roast the turkey on the lowest rack of the oven at 500˚ F for 30 minutes.  Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and lower the oven temperature to 350˚ F.  Set the thermometer alarm, if available, for 161˚ F.  (A 14-16 lb. bird will take about 2-2½ hours.)  Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

  • step 6: HideShow Images

    *You can certainly make a larger turkey with this recipe.  I have made 23-pounders multiple times.  It will obviously take longer to cook through, and an instant-read thermometer is absolutely essential for knowing when the bird is properly cooked.  You also could use a frozen turkey, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  For one thing, many frozen turkeys are injected with a salt-laden preservative that will cause your bird to be overly salted after brining.  And plus, it’s Thanksgiving!  Go for the best quality ingredients available – fresh tastes better.  If using frozen, thaw in the refrigerator 2-3 days before roasting.