Never Fail Thanksgiving Turkey

  • Yield: 12 servings


1-- (14- to 16-pound) frozen young turkey
For the Brine:
1cup kosher salt
1/2cup light brown sugar
1gallon vegetable stock
1tablespoon black peppercorn
1/2tablespoon allspice berries
1/2tablespoon candied ginger root
1gallon iced water
For the Aromatics:
1-- red apple, sliced
1/2-- onion, sliced
1-- cinnamon stick
1cup water
4sprigs rosemary
6-- leaves sage
-- Canola oil


  1. Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, and then remove from heat. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  2. Early on the day of cooking (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast-side down in brine, cover and refrigerate or set in a cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, halfway through brining.
  3. A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500F. 
  4. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick and cup of water in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.
  6. Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil. Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil. Insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161F. A 14- to 16-pound bird should require a total of  2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.