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Author Notes: This is my absolute favorite method of turkey-ing. Of all the methods I've tried, nothing beats brining. The turkey is so moist and flavorful that it really stands alone, but who wouldn't want to throw a stick of deliciously-flavored butter in there somehow? And is that a chunk of breast meat missing from the bird? I can't imagine how that happened (eyes cast innocently skyward). —campagnes
Serves about 10
- 1 gallon apple juice
- 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
- 4-5 large sprigs fresh thyme
- about 1/2 gallons' worth of ice cubes
- 1 gallon ice water
- 1 13-pound turkey
Garlic Herb Butter
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- To make brine: Combine 6-7 cups apple juice with salt, sugar, and herbs in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer about 5 minutes, or until salt and sugar are dissolved and herbs are fragrant. Remove from heat and add ice cubes; pour into a large, clean, nonreactive container (I used a new, clean trash can) and add remaining apple juice and water.
- Place turkey in brine, breast-side down, and fill cavity with brine. Add additional water if turkey isn't fully submerged. Allow to brine for at least 8 hours (overnight is best).
- While turkey is brining, combine all ingredients for Garlic Herb Butter in a bowl; set aside at room temperature until ready to use.
- After brining, remove turkey from brine and discard excess brine. Rinse turkey, including the cavity, and pat dry with paper towels. Let stand, uncovered, for about 4 hours to allow skin to dry.
- When ready roast, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate skin from turkey breast and legs, and stuff butter under skin. Rub remaining butter on the outside of the turkey. Roast for approximately 2 1/2 hours, or until thigh temperature reaches 160 degrees. Let stand 30 minutes before carving.
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