Alton Brown’s Brined Turkey – Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Alton Brown’s Brined Turkey is the absolute best thanksgiving turkey recipe I’ve ever used. Of course I don’t think Alton can do any wrong! He’s my favorite Food Network star.

If you’ve never cooked a brined turkey then I think you are short changing you and your Thanksgiving guests. The brine actually breaks down the tough fibers of the turkey and after roasting it’s exceptionally moist and tender!

There is a scientific explanation for the brining process but that’s not what matters to me. What matters is the fact that the turkey is tender, moist and with Alton’s aromatics, exceptionally flavorful.

Wow your family and friends this year with Alton Brown’s Brined Turkey!

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Alton Brown's Brined Turkey
Prep Time
50 mins
Cook Time
2 hr 30 mins
Total Time
3 hr 20 mins
 

This brined turkey yields moist and tender meat. The breast does not come out dry like in most recipes

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 14 -16 lb whole turkey, frozen
For The Brine
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon water heavily iced
For The Aromatics
  • 1 red apple sliced
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • canola oil
Instructions
2 to 3 Days Before Roasting
  1. Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
  2. Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
The Night Before Roasting Day
  1. Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Roasting Day
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water.
  2. Discard the brine.
  3. Place the bird on rack of roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage.
  5. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
  6. Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.
  7. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and cover the breast with a foil triangle. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  8. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F.
  9. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.
  10. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

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