This turkey made its way into chef Craig Deihl’s recipe collection by way of a staff meal at his Charleston restaurant Cypress. He explains that while many people don’t do it on Thanksgiving, the brine is the single most important part of getting a perfectly moist turkey, and adds, "The brine makes the difference between a good turkey and a great one." After trying his recipe, we believe him.
In a saucepan, combine the 2 cups water with the salt and sugar. Place over medium-high heat. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. If it starts to boil, lower the temperature. Add the sage, thyme, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves and cook for 3 minutes. In a large container, combine the ice water and the hot mixture. Stir with a large spoon. Liquid should be ice cold. Place the turkey into the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Remove the turkey from the brine and put in a colander with the legs facing down to drain excess brine. Brine can be discarded. Using paper towels, pat the turkey dry. Roast the turkey in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 5 hours or until an internal thermometer reaches 160 degrees.