The pinnacle of the Thanksgiving meal is, of course, the turkey — and we want to make sure that you are fully equipped and prepared to cook it just right. Don’t get wrapped up in Turkey Day chaos. Take a deep breath, relax, and follow this easy recipe to cook a juicy and moist turkey.
For the brine
- 12 Cups water, divided
- 1 Cup kosher salt
- 2 Cups sugar
- 1 Cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 sprigs each of sage, thyme, and rosemary
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- One 12- to 14-pound turkey
- 4 Cups ice
- 1/2 stick of butter, melted
- 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 lemons, cut in half
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 Cups water or broth
- 2 sprigs each of parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary
- black pepper, to taste
For the brine
In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a simmering boil. Add salt and sugar and stir until it has dissolved completely. Turn off the heat and add 8 cups water, apple cider vinegar, sage, thyme, rosemary, pepper, and ice.
Remove giblets and neck from the cavity of the turkey. Rinse the inside and outside of the turkey, and, using paper towles, pat the turkey dry. Transfer the brine to a brining bag or large pot. Submerge the turkey into the brine, making sure the brine is inside the cavity. Seal bag or cover pot and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for 12 hours. After the turkey has brined, remove it from the liquid, and rinse it off and pat it dry with paper towels. Place in the roasting rack for 1 hour to take the chill off the meat before roasting. Truss the turkey by tying the legs together with kitchen string and pinning the wings under the turkey.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Roast the turkey at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Then cover the breast area with aluminum foil, reduce heat to 350 degrees, add 2 cups of water or broth to the roasting pan, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Baste frequently, to promote even browning, but be sure to keep the oven door shut in between basting so the heat doesn’t escape.
When the turkey has reached the desired temperature, remove from the oven, and tilt the turkey so the inside liquids run out into the pan. Lift the whole turkey and transfer to a clean cutting board. Tent the turkey with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes before carving. Reserve the drippings for the gravy.