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Brined and Roasted Turkey

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Wednesday, 17 October 2007 02:30
Serves 10 to 12

  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 2 cups bourbon
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbs coarse salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 twelve- to fifteen-poundturkey, giblets removed and rinsed
  • 1 Tbs freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 Tbs freshly ground black pepper
  • Cornbread, apple, and sausage stuffing (get sausage stuffing recipe here) or use whatever stuffing you prefer
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock, or low-sodium canned
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley stems (about 1 bunch)
Brined Roasted Turkey

  • In a pot large enough to accommodate the turkey, combine 2 gallons water, the bourbon, 2 cups salt, and the sugar. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Add turkey, and refrigerate for 18 to 36 hours.
  • Remove turkey from the brine, and dry well with paper towels. Let stand, covered, at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons salt and the white and black pepper. Rub the inside and outside of the turkey with the salt-and-pepper mixture. Fill the large cavity and neck cavity with as much stuffing as they hold comfortably. Do not pack tightly, or the stuffing will not cook through. Tie the legs together loosely with kitchen twine. Fold the neck flap under, and secure with toothpicks. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a heavy metal roasting pan. Fold the wing tips under the turkey .
  • Soak a clean kitchen towel in the chicken stock. Lift the towel out of the stock, and squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread it evenly over the turkey . Place the turkey in the oven so breast is facing the front of the oven. Roast for 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the towel. Turn roasting pan so the breast is facing the back of the oven. Basteturkey with pan juices. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully. Add onions, carrots, celery, and parsley stems to the roasting pan around the turkey. Roast 1 hour more, basting after 30 minutes.
  • Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Do not poke into a bone. The temperature should reach 165° and the turkey should be golden brown. The breast does not need to be checked for temperature. If the legs are not fully cooked, baste the turkey , return to the oven, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • When fully cooked, remove the turkey from the oven, and let it rest, covered, for at least 20 minutes. Transfer to a carving board. Make the gravy, and serve with turkey.


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