Good Eats Roast Turkey

Total Time:
9 hr 45 min
15 min
7 hr
2 hr 30 min

10 to 12 servings

  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
  • For the brine:
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water
  • For the aromatics:
  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil
2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

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Pairs Well With
Pinot Noir

Delicate, floral red wine

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4.9 5051
made it loved it item not reviewed by moderator and published
It's a Keeper! Made this for Christmas 2014…Delicious, Moist, and Easy! I used about 1/2 inch of broth in the bottom of the roasting pan as others have mentioned…it does smoke roasting at 500 degrees for the first 1/2 hour, but this helped a lot! The gravy was amazing…the only thing I had to add was the flour and water. It made really yummy turkey sandwiches…and then I boiled the turkey bones and am making a turkey soup!!! Success…Thanks for sharing! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this as my family's Christmas turkey. It was my first time making a turkey and it turned out incredibly. My family were all raving about how it was one of the best turkeys they'd ever had. Slight change I made out of necessity: replaced the cinnamon stick with a scant pinch of cinnamon. Doubt it made much of a difference. My 12 pound turkey took 30 minutes at 480 (scaled down since I have a convection oven) and then 1hr30 minutes at 350. item not reviewed by moderator and published
how long, in total would a 22 lb turkey need in the oven? 500 degrees for 30 minutes... then how long at the lowest temp? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Can my 22 lb turkey stay in the brine for 24 hours or will it be too salty? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Absolutely amazing. Followed the recipe to the letter. Didn't cover the bird at all (didn't watch the video, so didn't know if he did or not. It doesn't say to). Came out perfectly! Just enough seasoning to complement the flavor of the bird without covering it up, and so, so moist all the way through! I will be doing this every year. Thank you Alton Brown! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I don't even brine to anymore and it is still simply amazing! I only use this recipe, but twice a year and it has never let me down. If you buy a Butterball or the like which has already been presoaked in brine, simple by pass the brine stem and you will come out with amazing turkey Evert Time, I promise. I coat with olive and canola mixture and then cover the turkey in paprika and chili powder and black peppper. I do the half for at 30 min and cover in aluminum foil and then insert the temp probe in the thickest part of the white meat and cook until 161 is reached and is is Perfect! This guys recipe is amazing as we say in my country (the USA). I have never made a mistake and this is the twentieth turkey. The meat lasts for at least two weeks to make Turkey sandwiches. Merry Christmas Alton Brown and thanks so much for this this timeless recipe!!!!!! You da man!!!!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
im just starting the brine process and i have a 24 lb turkey. i had to add chicken broth because of the size difference. i hope it turns out ok. and i dont have a bucket but im thinking of putting it in a roasting bag in a big bowl and stick it in the fridge. should i add water because it calls for ica nad that would melt? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have been cooking this recipe since the Good Eats episode first aired in 1999. I don't think we have had a Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner since then where I did not cook the bird... at my house, Grandparent's houses, cousins, etc... The recipe has evolved for me a bit over the years, the biggest change is swapping out the vegetable stock for Lipton onion soup mix, I like the little bit of extra twang that adds. item not reviewed by moderator and published
We have made this turkey the last three Thanksgivings and it is so good we started making it for Christmas dinner as well. Always turns out well, even with our inexperience in cooking it was wonderful and has become a holiday staple. item not reviewed by moderator and published
That's right this one is the best. item not reviewed by moderator and published
probably around 3.5 - 4 hours in total. That's a big bird! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I always brine my turkey for AT LEAST 24 hours, never have had a salty turkey yet. Good luck! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Yes we do the same works great every time. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Add some water, it's no problem. item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

Top Turkeys for Thanksgiving