Total Time
2hrs
Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins

Our family's favorite way to do turkey! We have been making our Thanksgiving turkey with this recipe for years and it is always moist and delicious! The brine works well for chicken or pork too (cut the brine recipe in half). Make sure to use a good meat thermometer and do not over cook! While you still see recommendations to cook poultry to an internal thigh temperature of 180° to 185°, the USDA standards say 160° to 165° is safe. Preparation time does not include brine time.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Brining: Remove giblet bag from turkey, along with any extra internal fat and pin feathers. Rinse well under cold tap water.
  2. Combine sugar, salt and 1 gallon of water in a large bowl; stir until sugar and salt dissolve.
  3. Add bay leaves, thyme, garlic, allspice berries and juniper berries.
  4. Double-bag two heavy-duty, unscented trash bags (do not use bags made of recycled materials) and put them in an ice chest that is large enough to hold the turkey.
  5. Place turkey in bags, pour in brine and remaining 1 1/2 gallons water; there should be enough liquid to completely cover the bird.
  6. Press out air in bags; tightly close each bag separately. Keep turkey cold with bags of ice, which will also help keep it submerged. Let brine for 12-24 hours.
  7. Alternate method: Place turkey and brine in a pan large enough for bird to be completely submerged. Weight it down with a plate and cans to keep it submerged in brine. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
  8. Air-dry: After brining, rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, 12 to 24 hours. Turn the bird over halfway through drying time.
  9. Roasting (Convection): Preheat convection oven to 375°.
  10. Spread 2 tablespoons softened butter over skin; sprinkle skin and cavity with 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper.
  11. Tuck wing tips under and tie legs together. Place bird breast-up, in a V- shaped roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan. Cover breast and top of thighs tightly with foil.
  12. Roast for 45 minutes. Remove foil and baste with 1/2 cup turkey stock. Leave foil off.
  13. Return turkey to oven. Baste with pan drippings every 20 minutes, adding more stock and butter as necessary, until internal thigh temperature reaches 165°. A 12-16-pound bird will cook in about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.
  14. Let turkey rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
  15. Roasting (Conventional Oven): Preheat oven to 400°.
  16. Spread 2 tablespoons softened butter over skin; sprinkle skin and cavity with 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper.
  17. Tuck wing tips under, loosely truss legs and place turkey on a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan. Tent breast with foil.
  18. Put turkey in oven. To assure that the bird cooks evenly, rotate roasting pan 180° every 30 minutes while turkey is roasting. Roast for about 1 hour, remove foil and baste turkey with 1/2 cup stock.
  19. Return to oven and roast, basting with pan drippings every 20 minutes, adding more stock and butter as necessary. Start checking internal temperature after about 1 hour of roasting time. If legs begin to get too brown, cover loosely with foil. Roast turkey until internal thigh temperature reaches 165°. Total roasting time should be about 2 to 2 3/4 hours.
  20. Let bird rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving.