Prep 24 hrs
Cook 4 hrs
This turkey is "brined" in a mix of water, salt, honey and seasonings. The results are an incredibly tender turkey. You do need to get started a day ahead
- 19 -20 lbs turkey, neck, heart and gizzard reserved for gravy
- 8 quarts water
- 2 cups coarse salt
- 1 cup honey
- 2 bunches fresh thyme
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
- 2 lemons, halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (about)
- 1 turkey giblets, neck, heart, gizzard
- 6 cups water
- 3 1⁄2 cups canned reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 onion, halved
- 1 large celery rib, chopped
- 1 small bay leaf
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1⁄4 cup whipping cream
- FOR TURKEY: Line extra-large stock pot with heavy large plastic bag.
- (about 30 gal. capacity) Rinse turkey; place in plastic bag.
- Stir 8 quarts water, 2 cups coarse salt and 1 cup honey in large pot until salt and honey dissolve.
- Add 1 bunch fresh thyme, peeled garlic cloves and black pepper.
- Pour brine over turkey.
- Gather plastic bag tightly around turkey so that bird is covered with brine; seal plastic bag.
- Refrigerate pot with turkey in brine at least 12 hours and up to 18 hours.
- Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Drain turkey well; discard brine.
- Pat turkey dry inside and out.
- Squeeze juice from lemon halves into main cavity.
- Add lemon rinds and remaining 1 bunch of fresh thyme to main cavity.
- Tuck wings under turkey; tie legs together loosely to hold shape.
- Place on rack set in large roasting pan.
- Rub turkey all over with 2 TBS olive oil.
- Roast turkey 1 hour.
- Baste with 1 cup chicken broth.
- Continue to roast until turkey is deep brown and thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180°F, basting with 1 cup chicken broth every 30 minutes and covering loosely with foil if turkey is browning too quickly, about 2 1/2 hours longer.
- Transfer turkey to platter.
- Tent loosely with foil let stand 30 minutes.
- Pour pan juices into glass measuring cup, spoon off fat and reserve.
- MEANWHILE, PREPARE GRAVY: Place reserved turkey neck, heart and gizzard into a large saucepan.
- Add 6 cups water, 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, carrots,onion, celery and bay leaf.
- Simmer over medium heat until turkey stock is reduced to 3 cups, about 2 hours.
- Strain into a bowl; reserve turkey neck and giblets.
- Pull meat off neck.
- Chop neck meat and giblets; set aside.
- Melt 5 TBS butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add 5 TBS flour and whisk for 2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in turkey stock, cream and up to 1 cup reserved turkey pan juices (juices are salty so add according to taste).
- Simmer gravy until thickened to desired consistency, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Add chopped turkey neck meat and giblets; season to taste with pepper.
- Serve turkey with gravy.