Brining your turkey is the way to go. If you’re considering making the move to brine before your holiday feast, let us push you in the right direction. Whether you’re roasting in a convection oven or on the smoker, brining locks moisture into the meat and even helps your turkey cook a little faster. For perfectly juicy results, trust the brine every time.
15 lb whole turkey (not self-basting or kosher) thawed, giblets and neck removed
2 c table salt (do not substitute equal amounts of kosher salt)
2 gallons water, icy cold
4 c brown sugar
1/2 c rosemary, dried
1 onion, small, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch chunks
4-6 tbsp unsalted butter
In a very large clean container (non-corrosive pan or stockpot such as stainless steel or glass or a food-grade plastic container), mix salt and water together until salt dissolves. Stir in brown sugar and spices, mix well until sugar dissolves.
Totally submerge poultry in solution and store, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 8 hours. Since brining does not preserve meat, the turkey must be kept below 40°F throughout the entire brining process. Ice packs may also be used to keep turkey at a safe temperature of below 40°F.
Remove turkey from brine. Discard brine. Pat skin and both interior cavities dry.
* NOTE: The ratio of water to salt is appropriate for a 15-pound turkey. If a larger or smaller turkey is brined, please calculate accordingly.
* *NOTE: Other combinations of herbs may be added including 6-8 bay leaves, 3 cloves garlic and 2 teaspoons black peppercorns. Or a spicy flavor may be achieved by the addition of 1 cup small dried red chile peppers.
In the cavity of the turkey, place onion, carrot and celery.
Brush turkey with melted butter.
Roast turkey, breast side down, in a preheated 325°F oven for 2 hours. During this time, baste legs and back twice with melted butter.
Remove turkey from oven and protect your hands by grasping turkey with several layers of clean paper towels at both ends, and turn turkey, breast side up.
Return turkey to oven and continue to roast, basting twice with pan drippings. Continue to roast until internal temperature reaches 165°F. NOTE: A brined turkey cooks slightly faster than an unbrined turkey, so check the internal temperature frequently.
Remove turkey from the oven and allow to stand for 20 minutes before carving.