Sam Hayward's Brined Turkey

Recipe courtesy Sam Hayward Yield: about 3 quarts You can brine a 14-pound turkey overnight in the refrigerator in a large lobster pot. Or, if you’re cooking a very large bird, you can brine it outside in a large, very clean picnic cooler filled with the brine and a few bags of ice to keep the temperature cold. You’ll need to double the brine recipe in this case. Secure the lid with heavy weights or a bungee cord, then let the cooler sit outside overnight. The high concentration of salt and sugar in the solution will keep it from freezing.

  • 1 14-pound turkey, preferably fresh

  • 2-1/4 cups kosher salt

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked with the bottom of a skillet

  • 2 to 3 sprigs each of fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage

  • 2-1/2 gallons cold water

  • Remove the giblets and neck from the bird, saving the neck if you plan to make stock. Set aside.

  • The evening before you roast the turkey, mix the remaining ingredients in your container, stirring until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Place the whole turkey in the brine, breast side down, and move it around a bit to expel air from the cavity.

  • Place the container in the refrigerator (or outside, remembering to add ice and secure the lid), then allow the turkey to rest in the brine for 12 hours.

  • Remove the bird from the brine, and drain it well before roasting. Discard the brine.

  • Preheat the oven to 425°. Set turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set into a large roasting pan. Fill the cavity with onion, celery, and carrots.

  • Tie legs together with butcher’s twine. Tent turkey breast with foil.

  • Roast 30 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350° and roast 1-1/2 hours. Remove foil and roast 30 minutes longer.

  • Begin checking internal temperature at thigh and cook until the thermometer reads 165° (usually about 10–20 minutes longer).

  • Remove from the oven and tent with foil. Let rest 20 minutes before carving.

  • While the turkey is resting, remove the rack from the roasting pan and set on two burners over medium heat. The browned bits and juices on the bottom of the pan should begin to sizzle.

Prep time:10 min

Cook time:180 minutes



Keywords: turkey brine


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