Thanksgiving and Christmas - I love them for so many reasons - and one of the biggies has to be the FOOD!  I love to cook and I love to eat and holiday meals are an excuse to do both (with reckless abandon).  I mentioned with my Clam Chowder recipe that I like simple and good and don't go for time consuming preparation, but here is one that is worth it and really, isn't as complicated as it looks.  Trust me, this way of cooking a turkey has never failed to be delicious.  I think I got the original recipe from Epicurious, but we've modified it over the years. 

Brined Turkey

1 14-16 pound turkey, thawed
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock (like this one)
2 Tbsp peppercorns
1 gallon ice water
5 gallon bucket (like this one)
1 XXL zip lock bag (like this one)

The night before you want to eat the turkey, combine the salt, sugar, vegetable stock and pepper corns (the brine) in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until chilled.  Line the bucket with the zip lock bag (the way you would put a trash bag in a can), and fill it with the brine and ice water.  Place the thawed turkey breast side down in the brine, and seal the zip lock bag, letting out as much air as possible.  Refrigerate or set in a cool area (like a basement or garage) for at least 6 hours.

A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees.  Remove turkey from brine, rinse, and place in roasting pan, patting dry with paper towels.  Toss the brine and the zip lock bag.  Coat whole bird liberally with olive oil and sprinkle heavily with herb mixture of choice (we like Emeril's Turkey Rub).  Roast on lowest rack of the oven at 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  A 14-16 pound turkey should take 2 to 2 1/2 hours to roast, but the best way to know it is done is to take the internal temperature - 180 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended and juices should run clear.  

Take out of the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving - but the longer the better.  Due to a side dish timing error we let the turkey rest last Thanksgiving for about an hour before carving and IT WAS AWESOME.  Juiciest ever.

Have the most wonderful of Thanksgivings - travel safe out there - and hug the ones you love A LOT.


  1. Bahahahaha!!! "...side dish timing error" ....gaaaaaaaaaaa last year my poor sister in law brought some lovely stuffed mushrooms and I never put them in the oven - we found them when we were doing dishes! Ooops!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving!


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