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One cooked 8.5-11.5 pound turkey
Prep info
up to 3 days to thaw + 8-16 hr brine + 30 min prep + 2.5 hr roast + 30 min rest + 30 min carve
Prep time
Not set
Cook time
3 days, 20 hours
Time required
3 days, 20 hours
Oven preheat
Mains - Misc
Thanksgiving turkey


  • 1 whole turkey (frozen, 8.5-11.5 pounds / 4-5kg)
  • For the brine, advance prep:
  • 200 g Salt (Table)
  • 140 g sugar - light brown
  • 1.5 T whole black peppercorns
  • 2 t whole allspice berries
  • 3 Kg water (3 liters / 3 quarts)
  • For the brine, immediately before using:
  • 10.5 crushed vegetable broth cubes
  • 500 mL water (boiling / 2 cups)
  • 6 Kg water (iced / 6 liters / 6 quarts)
  • For the aromatics:
  • 1/2 sliced apple
  • 1/4 sliced onion
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 rosemary (sprigs)
  • 6 sage (leaves)
  • For the outside:
  • oil (as needed - we use sunflower oil)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • ground rosemary (to taste)


2 to 3 days before roasting:

1. Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at or below 38F.

Sometime the day before:

2. Do the advance prep of the brine.  Combine all ingredients in a 5L/5qt stockpot over medium-high heat.  Stir occassionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil.  Then remove the brine from the heat. Leave to cool to room temperature.  This will be fine til you need to add the bird to it later.

The night before (8-16 hours before roasting starts / 12-20 hours before eating time):

3. Combine the vegetable broth cubes and hot water to dissolve.  Set aside.

4. Remove all packaging, giblets, and neck from the turkey.  Place turkey breast side down in an ice chest, 5-gallon bucket, or similar.

5. Add the brine, iced water, and vegetable broth to the ice chest.  Make sure the bird is fully submerged: weigh down or make more brine if necessary.

6. Set the ice chest in a cool place.

First thing the morning of:

7. Turn the bird over.

Four hours before eating time:

8. Preheat the oven to 500F. 

9. Remove the bird from the brine and rinse it inside and out with cold water.  Discard the brine.

10. Place the turkey, breast side down, on a roasting rack inside a half sheet pan.  Pat dry with paper towels.

11. Place aromatics inside turkey's cavity.  Tuck the wings as best you can.

12. Coat the skin liberally with oil.  As desired, add seasonings to the outside.

13. Roast the turkey on the second-lowest level of the oven at 500F for 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes:

14. Drop the temperature to 350F.  Remove the turkey from the oven, turn it over so the breast side is facing up, and place back in oven at same height.

After 2 hours:

15. Check the turkey's temperature by inserting a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.  When it reads 160F or more, it's done.

When done:

16. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl, for 30 minutes before carving.

17. Carve, then keep warm til serving time.


SJ Note: This is our favorite way to cook turkey - and the brining makes a massive difference, as we recently discovered.  The aromatics tend to be whatever we have on hand, rather than specifically what's called for here.  Moist and delicious turkey is just 5,520 minutes away!  :-)