Full-Flavored Roast Turkey

"Start by soaking the turkey in brine. I need 1 1/2 gallons of water to cover the turkey in the bucket I use. A larger container may require more water. Just remember the ratio -- 1 cup kosher salt (and 2/3 cup sugar) per gallon of water -- and increase accordingly. Don't worry if a bit of the turkey is not submerged. Just place the turkey, breast down, in the water, and let part of the back sit above the water. Sugar is optional, but it helps the bird brown beautifully."
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Ready In:
2hrs 30mins


  • 1 12 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar (optional)
  • 1 (11 -14 lb) whole turkey, 11-14 pounds, thawed if frozen, giblet bag, neck and tail cut off and reserved for gravy and excess
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter


  • Mix salt, optional sugar and 1 1/2 gallons of cold water in a clean bucket or stockpot large enough to hold the turkey. Add turkey; refrigerate 12-15 hours. Remove turkey from brine, rinse thoroughly under cool running water and pat dry.
  • Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place half of the chopped onion, carrot and celery in the turkey cavity. Tie the legs together and secure the wings. Scatter remaining onion, carrot and celery in a large roasting pan. Pour 1 cup of water over the vegetables. Set V-rack in pan. Place turkey, breast side down, on V-rack. Brush back and sides with melted butter. Roast for 45 minutes.
  • Remove pan from oven. Close oven door. Baste the turkey's back with drippings from the caramelized roasted vegetables, adding a little water to the pan if drippings need loosening. With a wad of paper towels in each hand, turn the turkey on its side so one leg and wing are up. Brush exposed area of turkey with loosened pan drippings. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan. Return to oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  • Remove turkey from oven; close oven door. Use the wads of paper towels to turn the turkey so the other leg/wing faces up. Baste exposed areas with drippings. Add more water to the pan, if necessary, to keep vegetables from burning. Roast 20 minutes more.
  • For the third time, remove turkey from oven; close door. Turn turkey breast side up and baste with drippings; roast 35-55 minutes longer, until a meat thermometer inserted in the breast registers 160-165 degrees and the leg/thigh registers about 170 degrees.
  • Keep checking the pan, making sure the vegetables maintain a rich caramel color; add water if they start to burn.
  • Transfer turkey to a platter and let rest, uncovered, 30 minutes before carving.
  • Meanwhile, pour excess fat from pan; discard fat and reserve drippings for gravy.

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