Brining your holiday turkey will ensure that you get a juicy and succulent bird. After an overnight bath in salt water, fill your turkey with flavorful aromatics instead of stuffing.
1 cup salt + 2 gallons of water
1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, trimmed, neck, giblets, and tailpiece removed (keep for gravy if desired)
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 onions, quartered
2 celery ribs, chopped coarse
1 granny smith apple, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup water, plus extra as needed
In large container, dissolve salt in 2 gallons cold water. Submerge turkey in brine, cover, and refrigerate or store in very cool spot (40 degrees or less) for 6 to 12 hours.
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Remove turkey from brine and pat dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Do not rinse.
Fill the turkey cavity with vegetables, herbs, apple and lemon. Rub outside of skin with melted butter and soy sauce. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wings behind back.
Place turkey in oven. After 45 minutes, remove pan from oven; baste turkey with juices from pan or add water if the pan is dry. If the breast is looking too brown, cover with heavy duty aluminum foil to prevent over-cooking. Roast until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees. Total roasting time will depend on the size of your bird. For a smaller turkey plan on 2-3 hours; a larger bird will take 3-4 hours.
Remove turkey from oven. Gently tip turkey so that any juices accumulated in the cavity run into pan. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Carve turkey and serve with gravy.This recipe pairs perfectly with our Turkey Gravy and Holiday Dressing Balls recipes.
Frozen turkeys take a long time to safely defrost. Plan on one day per five pounds of turkey, and always thaw in the refrigerator.