Perfect roast turkey

Yield 16 servings



  1. Place salt, sugar, onions, leeks, carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, peppercorns and 10 cups water in a large stockpot. Stir mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Set brine aside until it is cooled completely.
  2. Add turkey, breast side down, into the brine. Cover with foil. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. When ready to roast, remove turkey from brine and place on a large cutting board lined with paper towels. Pat dry completely with paper towels. Allow turkey to stand uncovered at room temperature for two hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 425F. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position of the oven.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter and wine, mixing well. Fold a very large piece of cheesecloth into quarters so that it is large enough to cover the turkey breast and halfway down the sides. Immerse cloth in butter-wine mixture. Allow cloth to soak for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Fold wing tips under turkey. Sprinkle one teaspoon each salt and pepper inside turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Fold neck flap under; securing it with toothpicks if needed.
  7. Rub turkey all over with softened butter; season with additional salt and pepper.
  8. Remove cheesecloth from butter mixture, gently squeezing any excess into the bowl. Reserve butter mixture for use in brushing on turkey.
  9. Lay cheesecloth over turkey.
  10. Place turkey, legs towards back if possible, in oven. Roast 30 minutes.
  11. Brush cheesecloth and exposed turkey with butter mixture. Reduce temperature to 350F. Roast, brushing every 30 minutes for 2 1/2 hours more. You can cover the turkey with foil if browning too quickly.
  12. After three hours total cooking time, remove turkey and discard cheesecloth. Rotate pan 180 degrees. Baste turkey with pan juices. Roast, rotating pan halfway through, until skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180F, about one hour.
  13. Transfer to a platter. Allow turkey to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Set pan with drippings aside for gravy.
  14. Carve and serve.

Note: If making gravy, add giblets and neck to pan 1 1/2 hours after reducing temperature; roast for 30 minutes then remove, and set aside.

Note: The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking the turkey until the thickest part of the thigh registers 180F. For a moister bird, remove at 165F; it will continue to cook outside the oven as it rests.

Courses Main Course

Recipe by Grateful | at