What you’ll need:
One FRESH Turkey (about 20 pounds)
- 2 cups Kosher Salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme (I love to use Lemon Thyme)
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
- 3 tablespoons fresh marjoram
- 1 tablespoon celery seeds
- 1 tablespoon fresh cracked peppercorns
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 large celery rib, chopped
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1-1/2 quarts Homemade Turkey Stock (see separate recipe)
How to cook:
This recipe only works with turkeys that are fresh. Self basting, frozen, and kosher turkeys have already been salted.
You will need a large container, big enough to hold this size turkey and brine. A six gallon stock pot or larger should work.
To estimate the amount of brine you will need to place the turkey in the pot and measure in enough cold water to cover the bird completely. The portions in the recipe are for 2 gallons of water, but the amount of brine can be adjusted as needed. For each 2 quarts of water, use 1/2 cup kosher salt, and 3 teaspoons each rosemary, thyme, and sage, and 1 tablespoon each marjoram, celery seeds, and peppercorns.
The turkey must be chilled during brining and kept below 40 degrees.
The night before roasting, rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water. Use the turkey neck & giblets to use in gravy.
In your large stockpot mix in the 2 gallons of cold water with the salt and herbs and stir until the salt dissolves. Place the turkey in the pot. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325 F. In a small bowl, mix the onion, carrot, and celery.
Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well, inside and out. under cold running water. Pat the skin and cavities dry with paper towels. Turn the turkey on its breast. Loosely fill the neck cavity with the onion mixture. Using a thin wooden or metal skewer, pin the neck skin to the back.Fold the turkey’s wings behind the back or tie to the body with kitchen string.
Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting pan. Rub all over with the butter. Tightly cover the breast area with aluminum foil. Pour 2 cups of the turkey stock into the bottom of the pan.
Roast the turkey, basting all over every 30 minutes with the juices in the bottom of the pan.Lift up the foil to reach the breast area. Roast and keep basting until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh area, but not touching a bone reads about 180 degrees F, which should be about 4 1/2 hours. If the dripping evaporate add more turkey stock. Remove the foil the last 45 minutes to hour to allow the breast to brown.
Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter and let it stand for at least 20 minutes before serving.