Roast Turkey – Brine, Roasting & Gravy

(from shytowntee’s recipe box)

I got the basic recipe for this from the “Good Eats” television program, Alton Brown. He had some ingredients that I knew my family did not like so I added and substituted items I thought my family would like making this my own.

Source: Linda Coker (from RecipeThing user cokerlj)

Categories: Christmas, Poultry, Thanksgiving, Turkey


  • 14 TO 16 POUND TURKEY:
  • 1/2 pound melted unsalted butter (flavor injector)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 carrots, quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 ribs celery, quartered
  • 4 whole stems parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • BRINE:
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup white cranberry juice
  • 1 gallon ice water
  • 1/2 apple, cored and quartered
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 leaves fresh sage
  • 2 large stems parsley
  • 1 rib celery, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • GRAVY:
  • liquid from cooked turkey pan
  • water or broth as needed
  • cornstarch
  • cooked giblets
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. VEGETABLE STOCK: Boil vegetables in one gallon water for 1 hour, keeping water at a constant level. (add water as it evaporates)

  2. BRINE: Add salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, poultry seasoning, ginger and rosemary to Vegetable Stock on stove top after it has cooked for the 1 hour. Simmer slowly for an additional 30 minutes. Strain through a very fine cloth discarding all the vegetables and seasonings. Chill in refrigerator over night.

  3. BRINE CONTINUED: Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the chilled brine with wine, cranberry juice and ice water in a clean 5 gallon bucket or ice chest. Place the thawed and cleaned turkey breast side down in the brine. Be sure to remove the neck & giblets. Tip: I used one of those thick large zip lock storage bags like is intended for things like clothing or whatever and placed it down in an ice chest with a layer of ice on the bottom. Seal the bag, place more ice in the cooler and keep in a cool place for at least 6 hours or over night. Turn turkey over once, half way through brineing.

  4. AROMATICS: Place all ingredients listed in small pan and bring to boil…turn off heat.

  5. ROASTING TURKEY: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Thoroughly wash the turkey…making sure to rinse the brine from all cavities of the bird. Place the bird in a deep foil pan…be sure that this pan has a sturdy “cookie sheet” under it to help support the weight. Using a slotted spoon, remove all the “aromatic vegetables” from the water and place inside cavity of bird. Tie the legs together and make sure wings are tucked under. Rub turkey down with canola or vegetable oil. I also like to use a flavor injector to inject melted butter into the thighs, drumsticks and breast. Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. (This was too high for my oven and my breast started getting really brown so I immediately covered with foil and adjusted my temperature to 475 degrees.) Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Keep an eye on the bird…if legs tart to brown too much, cover with foil. Add about 1 cup of the aromatic water to the bottom of the pan. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for a5 minutes before carving. (I am thinking that I might use one of those “Brown-’n-Bags” to cook my turkey the next time and follow the instructions on the bag, thinking this would be a pretty easy way to roast the turkey?)

  6. GRAVY: Drain off the liquid from the pan, strain off most of the fat and grease. Get as much of the “good stuff” off the bottom of the pan as you can. If you transfer your turkey to a cutting board, you can add some water or turkey broth to the bottom of the pan, place on stove top and bring to boil to de-glaze. Taste to adjust seasoning, using cornstarch directions thicken to make gravy. You can add chopped, cooked giblets to your gravy for giblet gravy. Lots of southerners like to add chopped hard boiled eggs.

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