Foolproof Brined Turkey

Photo: Johnny Miller; Styling: Sarah Smart  

Brining a turkey is well worth the day-ahead time investment. It removes all guesswork, producing an incredibly moist bird that's more forgiving of being slightly overcooked. If you can't find an organic turkey, look for a fresh one without "added solution."

Yield: Serves 18 (serving size: about 4 ounces turkey and 1/4 cup gravy)
Total:
Recipe from Cooking Light

More From Cooking Light

Recipe Time

Hands On: 50 Minutes
Total: 4 Hours

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 237
  • Fat: 7.8g
  • Saturated fat: 2.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.7g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8g
  • Protein: 34.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 5.7g
  • Fiber: 0.8g
  • Cholesterol: 91mg
  • Iron: 2.3mg
  • Sodium: 307mg
  • Calcium: 45mg

Ingredients

  • Brine:
  • 1 gallon plus 2 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Turkey:
  • 1 (12-pound) organic fresh turkey
  • 10 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 2 celery stalks, quartered and divided
  • 2 large carrots, quartered and divided
  • 1 large white onion, quartered and divided
  • 1 large Fuji apple, quartered and divided
  • 1 lemon, quartered and divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock, divided
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation

  1. 1. To prepare brine, combine 2 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, and next 4 ingredients (through bay leaves) in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Add sugar mixture and remaining 1 gallon water to a brining bag.
  2. 2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve neck. Trim excess fat; add turkey to brining bag. Seal bag; refrigerate 18 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. 3. Preheat oven to 500°.
  4. 4. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Pat turkey dry. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Place parsley, 2 sage leaves, 3 celery pieces, 3 carrot pieces, 1 onion quarter, 2 apple quarters, and 2 lemon wedges in body cavity. Secure legs with twine. Place turkey on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Place turkey neck and remaining celery, carrot, onion, apple, and lemon in bottom of roasting pan; place rack with turkey in pan.
  5. 5. Bake at 500° for 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove turkey from oven). Place a foil tent over turkey breast. Pour 2 cups water in bottom of pan. Bake turkey at 350° for 45 minutes. Combine 1 1/2 cups stock and butter. Rotate turkey, and baste with 1/2 cup stock mixture. Bake 30 minutes; rotate turkey and baste with 1/2 cup stock mixture. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 160°. Remove from oven; place turkey on a cutting board. Baste with remaining 1/2 cup stock mixture. Let stand, covered, for at least 30 minutes; discard neck and skin.
  6. 6. Combine remaining 1/2 cup stock and flour, stirring with a whisk. Pour pan drippings through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Add flour mixture to drippings, stirring with a whisk. Place mixture in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve gravy with turkey.
My Notes

Only you will be able to view, print, and edit this note.

Add Note

Foolproof Brined Turkey Recipe at a Glance
advertisement
  1. Enter at least one ingredient

You want chicken? We've got it!

Chicken Tonight
Get endless recipe ideas for this dinnertime staple, emailed weekly.
We Respect Your Privacy. Privacy Policy