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Roasted Brine Turkey

kept bytrishbme

Cooking the holiday turkey can strike fear into the most seasoned cook, so we set out to determine what makes a difference (and what doesn't) once you bring home the bird. First, we found that a standard brine solution works with almost any size bird, but timing is key—at least six hours is required to get the full benefits of brining. We chose to skip stuffing the turkey, since cooking the stuffing to a safe internal temperature almost always resulted in an overcooked bird. A V-rack proved essential, not only to hold the turkey in place but also to elevate the meat above the roasting pan, which promoted more even browning and cooking. Turning the bird once during roasting protected the delicate breast meat from overcooking, and brushing the turkey with butter at the outset contributed to browning. Finally, letting the turkey rest after roasting allowed for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices in the meat.


1 cup salt
1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, trimmed, neck, giblets, and tailpiece removed and reserved for gravy
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 onions, chopped coarse
2 carrots, peeled and chopped coarse
2 celery ribs, chopped coarse
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup water, plus extra as needed
1 recipe Giblet Pan Gravy

If using a self-basting turkey or kosher turkey, do not brine in step 1, and season with salt after brushing with melted butter in step 5. Resist the temptation to tent the roasted turkey with foil while it rests on the carving board. Covering the bird will make the skin soggy.



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