Butterflied Tea and Orange Brined Roasted Turkey with Asian Ginger Butter

Rub this bourbon-citrus-brined bird with a soy-sesame butter.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 12 hr 20 min (includes brining and resting times)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 8-10
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Ingredients

Turkey and Brine:

5 oranges

2 cups kosher salt

1 cup bourbon

1 cup sugar

12 plain tea bags

12 black peppercorns

6 whole cloves

4 bay leaves

One 14- to 16-pound turkey, not kosher or self-basting, butterflied

Asian Ginger Butter:

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

4 scallions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely grated

Directions

  1. The day before, remove the zest from the oranges in wide strips using a vegetable peeler, applying gentle pressure so that most of the white pith is left behind. Reserve the zest, juice the oranges into a medium saucepan. Add the zest, salt, bourbon, sugar, tea bags, peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves and 4 cups (1 quart) of water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Pour the brine into a plastic container or pot large enough to hold the turkey, add 20 cups (5 quarts) ice water and stir to combine. Submerge the turkey, adding more ice water if needed. Weigh it down with a plate to keep it submerged and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.
  2. The next day, drain, rinse and pat the turkey dry. Put on a large paper-towel-lined cutting board and let sit out at room temperature until it reaches room temperature, about 1 hour.

For the Asian ginger butter: 

  1. Mix the butter, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions and garlic in a medium bowl until well combined.
  2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Pat the turkey skin dry again and rub the ginger butter evenly over the surface, also getting underneath the skin of the breasts. Lay the turkey in a large roasting pan as flat as possible. If the pan is a bit small, tuck the wings behind the back with the drumsticks resting on the ledge of the pan and place a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil at the bottom of the oven to catch drippings.
  4. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165 degrees F, 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with orange slices and chopped scallion if using.