How to brine and roast a turkey

(NC)—Try brining for the best tasting, juiciest holiday turkey ever. The results will be well worth the extra effort.

For a standard 12 to 25 lb turkey you will need 2 lbs of sea salt, 2 cups of brown sugar. You will also need a clean picnic cooler large enough to hold the turkey when completely submerged in water.

Place the turkey, salt and sugar in the cooler. Cover with 4 gallons of cold water and submerge the turkey upside down. Turn the turkey a few times to mix the salt and sugar. Place the cooler in a cold place for 4 hours for a smaller turkey and as much as 6 hours for a larger one.

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Let rest uncovered overnight in the refrigerator.

Rub the turkey with butter, ground pepper and your favourite herb or spice mix. Stuff the turkey with fresh herb sprigs, garlic cloves and large chopped pieces of carrot, celery and onion. Place breast side down on a clean well oiled roasting rack in a roasting pan. Add 2 cups of water to the pan.

Place the turkey in a preheated 400° oven. Roast one hour then turn the heat down to 250° and continue roasting for 2 hours longer. For a 20 to 25 lb turkey or larger, roast for 3 more hours. If you have a convection oven, only roast for 45 minutes first before turning down the oven heat.

Flip the turkey breast side up and baste thoroughly. Add 2 cups of water to the roasting pan. Turn the oven back up to 400° and continue roasting until the breast meat is exactly 165° and the thigh reads 170°. Baste and check the temperature every 15 minutes. Let the turkey rest covered with foil for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

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More turkey talk:

Six ways to cook a turkey
Turkey stuffing that’s not stuffy
Mastering the art of the turkey sandwich
Fall Harvest Turkey Pie
Mushroom, Turkey and Rice Casserole

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