Prep 24 hrs
Cook 4 hrs
I made this for my big family Thanksgiving dinner a couple years ago. Since then, I've been the designated turkey maker. This turkey is so juicy and full of flavor, you'll never want another turkey again.
- 1 (16 lb) fresh turkey
- 20 fresh sage leaves
- 1⁄2 cup softened butter
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the brine
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 gallon vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1⁄2 tablespoon allspice berry
- 1⁄2 tablespoon candied ginger
- 1 gallon ice water
For the aromatics
- 1 red apple, sliced
- 1⁄2 onion, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup water
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 6 leaves sage
- 1⁄2 cup melted butter
- 1 1⁄4 cups dry white wine
- The night before cooking, combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil.
- Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
- When cooled, combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket.
- Remove the neck and gizzard from the turkey.
- Rinse the bird thoroughly with cold water and pat dry.
- Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area.
- Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.
- Day of cooking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
- Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water.
- Discard brine.
- Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
- Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin from the breasts and drumsticks and slip the sage leaves underneath.
- Rub the entire surface with softened butter.
- Sprinkle the skin and cavity with salt and pepper.
- Add warm aromatics to the cavity.
- In a small sauce pan, add stick of butter and wine and keep warm on low heat for baste.
- Place turkey, legs first, in oven.
- Cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and using a pastry brush, baste turkey with butter-and-wine mixture.
- Cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil.
- Turn roasting pan so that the breast is facing the back of the oven.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to cook for 2 more hours, basting every 30 minutes and watching pan juices; if the pan gets too full, spoon out juices, reserving them for gravy.
- After the second hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding any bones.
- The temperature should reach 180 degrees and the turkey should be golden brown.
- The breast does not need to be checked for temperature.
- If legs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey, return the aluminum, return to oven, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.
- When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter and let rest for about 30 minutes.