Recipe adapted by Kim O’Donnel from Alice Waters
Make the brine:
Bring 2 gallons of water to a boil in a stockpot (at least 8 quarts in size, but preferably larger to
prevent spillage and other accidents). Add ¾ cup sugar and ¾ cup kosher (or coarse) salt;
stir until completely dissolved.
Turn off heat and add:
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1 leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned
and diced (nice addition but optional)
2 bay leaves
1 T black peppercorns
1 T coriander seeds
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. fennel seeds
2 star anise
couple sprigs of fresh thyme
Cool solution before placing in refrigerator to chill. IMPORTANT NOTE: COLD BRINE, COLD TURKEY. NO IFS, ANDS and
BUTS. You can make brine a few days in advance; otherwise, estimate 2-3 hours for the brine before turkey gets soaked.
Brining the turkey:
Estimate your brine start time against the day you want to roast (see note below). When you’re ready, remove the sack of
giblets and stuff that’s usually located in the cavity of the bird. Rinse turkey under cold water, inside and out, and place into a
pot or tub large enough to accommodate bird AND brine. Remember: liquid volume takes up a lot of space! I used a 16-
quart pot with plenty of room to spare.
Pour brine over bird. Ideally, the brine should cover the entire bird. If not, you may need to weigh it down with a plate to keep
it under the liquid’s surface. Cover and place in refrigerator, for a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 72 hours. I have
never done the max because I never have that much fridge space, but I have done 24, 36 and 48-hour brines, all with
When ready to roast, remove the turkey from the brine, making sure it’s free of liquid, and pat dry. Place on a rack in a
Preheat oven to 425 for 20 minutes. Place turkey in oven, legs in first (this allows dark meat to cook thoroughly). Roast at
this temperature for first 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350. Add an ounce or two of water or stock to bottom of pan
periodically- this helps keep drippings moist and loose, so you can make gravy.
Estimate approximately 12-15 minutes per pound, so a ten-pounder will take about 3 hours. Do not use the pop-up timer to
gauge doneness; instead, rely on an instant read thermometer. You are looking for 165-170 degrees on the deep part of the
Remove from oven and let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.