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1. Rinse turkey and pat dry; discard neck and gizzards. Prepare brine. Submerge turkey in cold brine (increase amount of brine to cover turkey, if necessary). Press and weight down turkey with a clean plate or two. Refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.
2. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove turkey from brine, discard brine and drain turkey well. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
3. Place turkey, bone side down, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Tuck drumsticks under band of skin across the tail, or tie drumsticks to tail. Twist wing tips under back. Push meat thermometer into center of inside thigh muscle.
4. Roast turkey, uncovered, for 2-3/4 to 3 hours, or until a meat thermometer registers 180 degrees F, cutting the band of skin or string holding drumsticks halfway through roasting. If necessary, tent turkey breast with foil during last 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning (covering whole turkey will slow down cooking).
5. Remove turkey from oven. Let stand, covered, for 20 minutes. Makes 10 to 16 servings.
1. In 10-quart pot combine 1 bunch fresh thyme, 5 bay leaves, 45 black peppercorns (about 1 teaspoon), 1-1/2 cups kosher salt*, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and 3 quarts hot water; stir to combine. Add 3 quarts ice; let stand until ice melts.