Photo: Leigh Beisch; Styling: Dan Becker
Serves 12 to 16

Time: 2 3/4 to 3 3/4 hours, plus overnight to brine. For a moist, flavorful bird, brine it first, then rub herb butter under the skin.

How to Make It

Step 1

Make brine: Boil 1 qt. water with salt in a pot big enough to hold turkey, stirring until salt is dissolved. Add 2 qts. cold water and let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, remove leg truss from turkey and discard. Remove neck, tail, and giblets and save for broth if you like. Pull off and discard lumps of fat. Rinse bird inside and out. Lower turkey into brine. If breast isn't submerged, make more brine, cool, and add. Chill, covered, at least 12 hours.

Step 2

Make butter: In a food processor, whirl butter, sage, and garlic until smooth.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 350°. Lift turkey from brine, rinse, and pat dry. Set turkey on a V-shaped rack in a 12- by 17-in. roasting pan (big enough so turkey fits inside rim).

Step 4

Slide your fingers between skin and flesh of bird, turning bird to make pockets of space on the breast, back, and leg areas. Still using your fingers, slide about 1 tbsp. sage butter at a time under skin in all the pockets. Place bird, breast up, on rack.

Step 5

Roast turkey, basting occasionally with pan drippings, until a meat thermometer inserted straight down through thickest part of breast to the bone registers 160°, 2 to 3 hours. Transfer turkey to a platter and tent with foil. Let rest in a warm place 15 to 30 minutes, then carve.

Step 6

Meanwhile, make gravy: Pour drippings into a clear measuring cup, using a flat spatula to scrape off browned bits stuck to pan. Skim fat from drippings, reserve 1/4 cup of fat, and discard the rest. Measure drippings; add hot water if needed to make 1 cup total.

Step 7

In a large frying pan, heat reserved fat over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add drippings, whisking into a smooth paste. Whisk in about 1/2 cup broth at a time, letting mixture come to a boil between additions. Stir in sage.

Step 8

Make ahead: Chill sage garlic butter, covered, up to 4 days; bring to room temperature when ready to use.

Step 9

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Ratings & Reviews

katiek124's Review

November 27, 2014
I used a smaller bird--about 10 lbs. I had a difficult time getting the butter under the skin, I could only get it on the breast of the turkey. I also did not have and drippings so I couldn't make the gravy (unless you could make it without and just use broth?) It still was the juiciest turkey I've had.

MarcyB's Review

December 01, 2013
We made this turkey for Thanksgiving and received rave reviews. It was outstanding - the best we ever had. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Prairie04's Review

January 01, 2013
The best turkey I ever made. Ended up having to make much more brine to cover the entire turkey. Also added a bunch of spices to the brine. Not sure if it made a difference, but the turkey was incredibly tender.

KingChester's Review

December 19, 2011

Chrissy1218's Review

November 25, 2011
This was my first time cooking a turkey and I'm so glad that I came across this recipe. The turkey came out perfect and juicy! I didn't brine it because I bought a frozen turkey. With the garlic sage butter I rubbed it under the skin, inside the bird, and even on the skin and then I added olive oil onto the skin followed by kosher salt and pepper and it was delicious. Oh and the gravy was amazing too! I'll definitely be using this recipe again!

Stephcook's Review

November 25, 2010
Even though I skipped the brining step, the turkey was tender and flavorful and the gravy was outstanding. It was easy to prepare with few ingredients. I had extra butter that I wasn't able to fit under the skin so I used the extra to cook vegetables for stuffing (Classic Herb Bread Dressing from this site.) Huge hit with the family for Thanksgiving. I plan to make this again next year. Great recipe!

joyceknowlton's Review

November 16, 2010
Moist and full of flavor. Best turkey recipe I have used for Thanksgiving (so far). Going to use it again this Thanksgiving!