The best roast turkey

Posted on Posted in British, Main Courses

Best Roast Turkey

Are you roasting a whole turkey for the first time this year? Or perhaps you’ve done this many times before, but you want a quick refresher to brush up on the basics? We’ll help you make your mama proud with these step-by-step instructions for roasting a whole turkey.

Here is our super basic, super simple, super easy recipe for roasting a super beautiful turkey this Thanksgiving.

The best roast turkey

  • For the brine:
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 5 lemons, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic heads, sliced in half crosswise
  • 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 6 quarts ice water
  • 18- to 20-pound turkey, thawed if frozen
  • For the turkey:
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 4 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into 2-inch wedges
  • 6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 garlic head, sliced in half crosswise
  • Special Equipment:
  • 12-quart pot and a 20-quart food-safe container (or a 20-quart pot)
  • large roasting pan with rack
  • kitchen twine

Make the brine:

If using a 12-quart pot, combine 4 quarts of water in the pot with the salt, lemon, honey, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir until salt is dissolved, then remove from the heat. Transfer brine to 20-quart food-safe container, and add 6 quarts of ice water. Let cool completely.

If using a 20-quart pot, combine 4 quarts of water in the pot with the salt, lemon, honey, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir until salt is dissolved, then remove from the heat and add 6 quarts of ice water. Let cool completely.

Lower the turkey into the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, remove the turkey from the brine, pat dry, and place on a rimmed baking sheet, breast-side up, to air dry for a minimum of 24 hours in the refrigerator. Once the turkey is dried, it is ready to roast.

Roast the turkey:

Preheat the oven to 450°F with the rack in the lower third of the oven. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting.

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