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Brined, High-Roast Turkey | by Lily White
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Brined, High-Roast Turkey

I've been making my turkey for years now using a method from the Nov/Dec 2001 issue of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. I only made the stuffing/dressing once; it was OK but it made too much and although I like stuffing, I don't like it THAT much. The recipe was "designed" with the stuffing to help avoid smoke issues because the turkey is cooked at such a high temperature, I must admit to some smoke issues, but I usually put a little water in the pan underneath and that seems to help. Plus I have the fan turned on at "high"....noisy, but effective. Below is the recipe how I do it (minus the stuffing), to view the turkey plus stuffing version click here





2 cups kosher salt or 1 cup table salt

1 cup sugar

1 turkey (12 to 14 pounds gross weight), rinsed thoroughly; giblets, neck, and tailpiece removed and reserved for gravy (recipe follows), and turkey butterflied

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted


1. To brine the turkey: Dissolve salt and sugar in 2 gallons cold water in large stockpot or clean bucket. Add turkey and refrigerate or set in very cool spot (not more than 40 degrees) for 8 hours.


2. To prepare turkey for roasting: Set slotted broiler pan top on top of roasting pan Remove turkey from brine and rinse well under cool running water. Position turkey on broiler pan top; thoroughly pat surface of turkey dry with paper towels. Refrigerate turkey 8 to 24 hours.


3. To roast turkey: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Drain any water that may have accumulated under the turkey. Brush turkey with melted butter. Place entire assembly with turkey in oven and roast until turkey skin is crisp and deep brown and instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 80 to 100 minutes, rotating pan from front to back after 40 minutes. At some point, if it is too smoky, you may want to try adding some water to the bottom of the pan; you may have to do so more than once.


4. Transfer broiler pan top with turkey to cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 20 minutes. Carve turkey and serve.


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Taken on October 9, 2007