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Roast Brined Turkey

Serves: 10-12 people
Wine Pairing: Torii Mor Pinot Noir or Rose


For Brine:
½ large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs sage
1 sprig rosemary
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 gallon water
1 gallon ice water
1 lb. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped sage
1 Tbsp. chopped thyme
1 tsp. chopped rosemary
1 Tbsp. chopped shallots
salt & pepper to taste
1 (14-16 lb.) turkey
½ large onion
several sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs each of sage & rosemary


Make Brine:  In a large stock pot, sweat the onion, garlic, sage & rosemary in a little oil over medium-low heat until fragrent, but not browned. Add peppercorns, salt, sugar and 1 gallon of water. Heat until salt and sugar are dissolved, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey, breast side down, in brine; cover and refrigerate, or set in a cool area, for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, halfway through brining. 

Make Herb Butter: Combine the softened butter, chopped herbs, shallots, salt, and pepper thoroughly (using the paddle attachment on an electric mixer works best). This can be made ahead but needs to be soft for spreading over turkey before roasting. (Roll any extra into a log using parchment paper, and freeze for later use on meat, fish, potatoes, rice, etc.)

Roast Turkey: Preheat oven to 500°F. Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine. 

Place bird on roasting rack inside roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add the half onion to cavity along with thyme, rosemary & sage sprigs. Tuck back wings and coat the whole bird with softened herb butter. 

Roast on lowest level of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350°F. A 14- to 16-lb. bird should require a total of 2 to 2½ hours of roasting. Remove from oven when thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast reads 165°F. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.