Brined and Oven-Roasted Turkey

Serves 10 to 12 Generously
No matter how many times you tackle a holiday bird, it can seem like your first. You root around for a recipe or try to remember a familiar technique. I’ve cooked turkey many ways over the years. My favorite is barbecued on a Weber kettle grill. My second choice is brining the bird before roasting it in the oven. This method is especially good if you’re a novice cook, allowing for some leeway by adding moisture to the bird and making it harder to overcook and dry out. If you have to feed a large crowd, it’s a fantastic choice. Always pick the best-quality bird available to you



  • 2 quarts water (at the very least)
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed (8 to 10 cloves)
  • 2 bottles white wine


  • 2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dried fennel
  • 1 tablespoon dried cumin
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 large sprigs fresh sage


  • One 16-pound turkey (approximate)
  • 1 Sausage Bread Stuffing
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a 2-quart pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with the salt and sugar, stirring occasionally until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Cool completely and place in a clean 5-gallon bucket with the onion, garlic, wine, and any of the optional spices or herbs. Stir in the remaining water completely to combine. Add the turkey. Cover and store in a cold place for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Turn bird occasionally.
  2. Drain the turkey, pat dry, and bring to room temperature an hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Stuff the cavity and neck of the bird with the stuffing. Truss or tie the cavity closed. Tuck the wings under the breast and place in the roasting pan. Rub the bird all over with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast the bird for 2 to 3 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of a leg reaches 165 degrees. After 1 hour, baste every 30 minutes with pan juices. After 2 hours, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
cook's note
Special equipment: 5-gallon bucket (for brining), trussing supplies or needle and string, roasting pan. Note: Trussing a turkey closes the cavity by either sewing the skin over the stuffing or sealing it altogether with skewers.

Note: Trussing a turkey closes the cavity by either sewing the skin over the stuffing or sealing it altogether with skewers.
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