The Sweet and Savory Sisters were introduced to brining meats a couple of years ago. We were skeptical about using so much salt. We spoke to two of our friends that are chefs and they assured us that it would not be too salty and we would be very pleased with the results. We brined our Thanksgiving turkey and it was unbelievable how moist and delicious it made the turkey. It is well worth the time that you put into it.
Brine for Turkey
2 gallons water or vegetable stock
2 cups kosher salt
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 ½ teaspoons allspice berries
2 bay leaves
14-16 lb. turkey
Combine stock, salt, sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries and bay leaves in a large stockpot. Heat over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Allow the broth to cool, add ice. Combine the brine and turkey in a 5 gallon bucket or a stainless steel pot. Place the turkey in the brine breast side down; making sure that the turkey is completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 8–16 hours. Remove bird and rinse inside and out, discard the brine. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup finely chopped green onion tops
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons basil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1¼ teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using. Using a long, thin flexible rubber spatula or your hand, slowly slide the tool between the skin and the flesh of the breasts on both side of the breastbone. The skin is pretty tough and won’t tear if you do it carefully. Do this on both sides of the breastbone but leave the skin attached along the center of breastbone itself. Stuff the compound butter under the skin on both sides. Rub the butter on the skin of the turkey, legs and wings. Place the bird in a roasting pan, breast side up. Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2½ hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.