Thanksgiving Day Turkey


For the brine:

  • 1 (5-7-pound) turkey breast, bone-in
  • 1 gallon water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon mixed or black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

For the turkey:

  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium lemon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium orange, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium apple, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh herbs, of your choice
  • vegetable oil, melted butter, or olive oil, to taste, for brushing on the turkey
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place the turkey in a large plastic cooking bag.
  2. Place the bagged turkey, open, into a large roasting pan or another large container to prevent leaking.
  3. In a large bowl, add 4 cups of the water, lukewarm.
  4. Whisk 1 1/2 cups of the salt and the brown sugar into the water until the sugar dissolves.
  5. Stir the bay leaves, the allspice berries, the peppercorns, and the rosemary into the sugar water mixture.
  6. Add the brine and the remaining water to the opened bag with the turkey.
  7. Close the bag and twist until the brine is covering the turkey. Use a twist-tie to secure the bag.
  8. Place the brine-covered turkey bag in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
  11. Transfer the turkey from the brine and rinse the turkey thoroughly with cold water. Discard the brine.
  12. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
  13. Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan.
  14. Fill the cavity of the turkey with the onion, the lemon, the orange, the apple, and the herbs.
  15. Position the filled turkey so that it is skin-side up on the rack.
  16. Rub the turkey generously with the vegetable oil, the remaining salt, and the pepper.
  17. Place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey, ensuring that it is not touching the bone.
  18. Roast the turkey for 20 minutes.
  19. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  20. Continue roasting the turkey until the meat thermometer registers at least 165 degrees F, about 20 minutes per pound.
  21. Slice and serve.

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