Print

The best roast turkey

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Make the brine:
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Lower the turkey into the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  5. 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.
  6. Roast the turkey:
  7. 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.