Brine and Roast a Turkey
The brine can definitely be made the day before
roasting the turkey. Start the brine early in the
day and let cool before adding the turkey to soak
for 18-24 hours. If you live where its colder, you
can always put the brine outside to help it cool
18-20 pound turkey, thawed
1 gallon water (16 cups)
3 cups apple juice
¾ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons peppercorns
Peel of 4 large oranges
1 stick cinnamon
Additional cold water to cover turkey in brine bag.
6 Tablespoons melted butter, for basting.
Day 1 - Make the Brine:
Combine the water, apple juice, brown sugar, kosher salt, minced garlic, rosemary sprigs, peppercorns, orange peels and cinnamon stick in a large pot. Over high heat, bring this mixture to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, immediately turn off the heat and cover. Once the brine comes to room temperature, cool in the refrigerator.
Day 2 - Brine the Turkey:
Place a brining bag into a large pot with high sides. Add the turkey. Ladle the cold brine mixture over the turkey. Add enough cold water to cover the turkey. Place the turkey and brine in the refrigerator for 18-24 hours. I also carefully turn the turkey to make sure all of it absorbs the brine.
Day 3 - Roast the Turkey:
Carefully remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it under cold water. In a sink full of fresh water, soak the turkey for 15 minutes (this removes a lot of the salt).
With paper towels, dry off the turkey. Place the turkey in a roasting pan or (on a rack for a roaster.) Cover the turkey with aluminum foil. (If using a roaster, no need to cover with foil.)
Tie the turkey legs and tuck under the wings. Roast the turkey at 275°F for 10 minutes per pound (3 - 3½ hours).
Remove the turkey from the oven, remove the foil (if using) and increase the oven temperature to 375°F. (If using a roaster, at this point, transfer the turkey to a roasting pan.) Brush 1/3 of the melted butter over the turkey. Place the turkey (uncovered ) back into the oven. Roast, basting with the remaining melted butter, every 30 minutes - until the turkey’s temperature reaches 170°F. (Get the turkey’s temperature read in the meatiest part of the thigh. Don’t test it against the bone.)
Remove the turkey from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil. Let the turkey sit for 30 minutes before carving.