Thanksgiving Turkey

Williams Sonoma Brown Sugar Brine Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. peppercorns
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 1/2 gallons ice water
  • 1 turkey, 16 to 18 lb., rinsed

In a large pot over high heat, combine the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns and the 1 gallon water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool to lukewarm, about 1 hour. Stir 1/2 gallon of the ice water into the brine.

Place the turkey in a brining bag or large pot. Pour in the brine and the remaining 1 gallon ice water. Using the sealing clip, seal the bag securely and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours. For added stability, place the bag in a pot or on a baking sheet.

Preparing the Turkey

  • 1 cup softened butter, divided
  • 2 t. minced fresh thyme plus 15 thyme sprigs
  • 2 t. minced fresh rosemary plus 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2 t. minced fresh sage plus 5 fresh sage sprigs
  • 1 onion, cut in quarters
  • 1 lemon, cut in quarters
  • Pepper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Roasting pan
  • Roasting rack or carrots to hold the turkey off of the bottom of the pan

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 2 hours before cooking, to take the chill off. Prepare the herb butter- mix half of the butter with the minced fresh herbs.

Remove turkey from the brine and rinse thoroughly under cool water. Pat the turkey (inside and out) with paper towels until dry.

Carefully slide your hand between the skin and the meat of the breast and legs. Rub the herb butter under the skin. If you do not want to do this step, just move to the next step.

Rub the regular butter all over the outside of the turkey. Place the turkey in the roasting pan on a roasting rack. If you do not have a rack, you can place several carrots in the bottom of the pan.

Liberally pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Place the onion, lemon and fresh herb sprigs into the cavity.

Put the turkey in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove the turkey and reduce the temperature to 350 F. Place the prepared aluminum foil over the breast. If you have an oven safe probe thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the breast. Return the turkey to the oven.

Roast for about 13-15 minutes per pound. You want the thermometer in the breast to register 161 F. The turkey will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven. Cover with aluminum foil or a lid and let the turkey rest for 30 minutes. If you carve the turkey before this, all of the wonderful juices you worked hard to keep in the bird, will run out!