Finding just the right recipe and cooking time for turkey can be tricky, so I’ve tested a turkey every week for the past month and a half in order to get to the moist juicy bird for this recipe. I was a little concerned that by the time Thanksgiving Day arrived the kids would look at the turkey and say, “again?!”, but so far I haven’t heard any protests from them (they both adore sliced turkey topped with tons of cranberry sauce, but you never know with kids).
Even though my father-in-law declares in his charming New York accent that my Brined Turkey is “the best turkey ever,” I just wasn’t sure if I could deal this year with the over-sized stock pot filled with brine and a 16 pound bird. Last year, I nearly threw out my back lugging the pot around and the year before, 1/2 of the turkey brine poured out ALL over the floor when I tripped over it trying to answer the phone. I thought I would never do a brine again, but alas, it’s so delicious I can’t resist. Oh, the joys of the holidays!
This is the easiest method of brining I’ve ever tried. Just rub the brine all over your bird and let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator for one to two days to dry out — easy peasy and no rivers of turkey juice running all over. Tender and juicy inside with crispy herbed skin outside, this turkey will be as delicious on Thanksgiving Day as it is in your leftovers all weekend long!
Herb Brined Turkey
- 1 12-14 pound whole turkey
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 2 cups turkey or chicken stock
- Remove the giblets from the turkey (to save for the gravy), wash and pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
- Whisk the salt and herbs in a bowl until combined.
- Rub the salt/herb mixture all over the turkey, inside and out.
- Place the turkey on a rack on a large plate or baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered, for 24-48 hours.
- Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1-2 hours before cooking to bring to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Tuck the wings behind the neck to avoid burning and place the turkey on a roasting rack, breast side down, pour 2 cups of chicken or turkey stock into the roasting pan and reduce the cooking temperature to 350 degrees.
- Cook the turkey for 30 minutes.
- Turn the turkey breast side up, roast the turkey an additional 2 hours minutes – 2 hours and 15 minutes, basting every 30 minutes and turning the turkey pan halfway through the cooking time (if the breast becomes too dark cover with foil).
- Place a meat thermometer in the deepest part of thigh, but being careful not to touch the bone, until you have an internal temperature of 165-170 F.
- Allow the turkey to rest for 30 minutes before slicing (this allows the juices to redistribute, making the turkey super juicy).