Thanksgiving Live Roast Turkey
- For brining:
- One 14- to 16-pound frozen natural, young turkey
- 1 gallon vegetable broth, homemade or canned
- 1 pound kosher salt
- 1 pound dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
- 1 quart cold water
- 5 pounds ice
- For roasting:
- 1 red apple, quartered
- 1/2 onion, quartered
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 cup water
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 6 leaves fresh sage
- Canola oil
Two to three days before roasting, thaw the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler at 38 degrees F, tops.
Combine the vegetable broth, salt, sugar, peppercorns, allspice and ginger in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat. Cool the brine to room temperature, then refrigerate.
The eve before roasting, combine the brine, cold water and ice in a cooler. Place the thawed turkey (guts, neck and whatnot removed) breast-side down in the brine. Seal up the cooler and use it as an ottoman. Target brine time: 12 hours; flip the bird once about halfway through.
Roasting day: Heat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Remove the bird from the brine and rinse inside and out. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on a roasting rack and place the rack inside a roasting pan. Pat the bird dry inside and out with paper towels. Allow the bird to sit at room temperature for at least an hour.
Lightly coat the bird with canola oil. Tuck the wings. Roast the bird on the lowest rack of the oven for 30 minutes.
Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Roast until the thermometer registers 155 degrees F, about 2 1/2 hours.
Remove the bird from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2013