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A Perfectly Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

A turkey recipe so memorable it will make you forget all the dry, flavorless Thanksgiving turkeys you've had over the years. 


For brining the turkey

  • 3 inches fresh ginger
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 7 garlic cloves smashed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks broken in half
  • 2 pieces mace optional but encouraged
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp allspice berries
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 12-14lb turkey
  • 2 7lb bags ice

For roasting the turkey

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig oregano
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper


Brine the turkey

  • Lay out a couple layers of cheesecloth. On top of it put the ginger, oregano, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, cinnamon, mace, cloves, black peppercorns, allspice berries, and juniper berries. Fold up the edges and tie some string around the top to form a packet. 
  • In a large pot, add the water, salt, sugar, lemons, and spice packet. Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes. 
  • In a 5 gallon food grade bucket, add one bag of ice. Pour the hot liquid from the pot over the ice into the bucket. Add the turkey, breast side down, to the bucket, stuffing the packet of aromatics into the cavity. 
  • Add as much ice as can fit in the bucket while still being able to get the lid on tightly. Set in the fridge for 24-48 hours. 

Roast the turkey

  • Remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine and packet of aromatics. Pat the turkey completely dry with paper towels, on the outside as well as the inner cavity. 
  • Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Loosely place the cinnamon stick, herbs and 1 half of the lemon in the inner cavity. Stuff the other half of the lemon in the neck area. 
  • Truss the turkey by folding the wing tips back over themselves and tucking them in, and tying the ankles together. 
  • Make a large triangle out of tin foil. Form it over the breast with the top point of the triangle meeting the bottom of the breast. Fold any excess foil back so the wings are not covered. Remove the foil triangle, but keep its shape so it can be easily placed back on the turkey. 
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Rub the turkey with a light layer of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Once the oven is heated, roast the turkey, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • After the first 30 minutes is up, reduce the oven temperature down to 350 and remove the turkey from the oven. Using a meat thermometer with 2 wire leads, stick one lead into the breast meat and one to the inside of one of the thighs. Place the foil triangle back over the breast, and put the turkey back in the oven. 
  • Roast the turkey until the breast meat reaches 150 degrees. Remove the foil, turn the oven to 400 and roast until the breast meat reaches 160 (the thigh meat will likely be around 180 or even more - that's what you want). 
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest, uncovered, for 60 minutes. After it has rested, carve and serve. Happy Thanksgiving!