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How To Roast a Turkey
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 3 hrs
Total Time: 3 hrs 10 mins
 

The lazy cook's guide to how to roast a turkey! Foolproof, mostly hands-off and with options for both a dry rub OR a wet brine.

Course: Mains
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy roast turkey recipe, easy thanksgiving turkey recipe, how to cook a whole turkey, how to roast a brined turkey, how to roast a dry rub turkey
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 414 kcal
Author: Alyssa Brantley
Ingredients
FOR WET BRINE:
  • 12 pound whole turkey natural, heirloom or heritage if possible
  • 2 gallons water (8 quarts)
  • 12 cloves garlic divided
  • 2 medium shallots cut in half
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 5 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral oil
FOR DRY RUB:
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
Instructions
FOR WET BRINE:
  1. Prepare turkey for brining by checking both cavities (between legs and where the neck used to be) for gizzards, heart and/or neck. Remove and set aside to make gravy or discard.

  2. Thoroughly wash the turkey inside and out with water. Place in a very large stockpot or another container that will hold the volume of water plus the turkey. 

  3. Add garlic, shallots, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, rosemary and 7 quarts of cold water. Dissolve the sugar and kosher salt in remaining 1 quart of cold water and pour into the pot.

  4. Refrigerate overnight. Use a long fork to turn the turkey over about halfway through (before bed).

  5. Use gloves to remove the turkey from brine. RINSE brine off of turkey and place into roasting pan. Pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper cavity then place the remaining 6 cloves of garlic into cavity. I also toss the herbs, garlic, and shallots from the brine solution into the cavity.

  6. Pour 2 tablespoons of oil over turkey and generously sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Use gloves to rub oil, salt, and pepper into the turkey. I recommend using kitchen twine to secure the legs behind the breasts for roasting.

FOR DRY RUB:
  1. Prepare turkey for brining by checking both cavities (between legs and where the neck used to be) for gizzards, heart and/or neck. Remove and set aside to make gravy or discard.

  2. Thoroughly wash the turkey inside and out with water and then pat dry with paper towels until most of the excess moisture is removed.

  3. Mix spices for dry rub in a small bowl and generously apply all over turkey. I recommend stuffing a sliced lemon or orange and peeled onion into the cavity along with a handful of fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, dill all work). Use kitchen twine to secure the legs behind the breasts.

  4. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate overnight. Transfer to a baking sheet and drizzle with avocado oil right before roasting.

TO ROAST:
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.

  2. Use a piece of tin foil to loosely tent over the breasts of turkey to prevent them from burning. Roast for 2 hours.

  3. Turn up the oven temperature to 425F and remove tin foil. Roast for an additional hour OR until internal temperate at the thickest part is 165F.

    Allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes, carve and Enjoy!

  4. NOTE: These instructions are for a 12 lb turkey. If you are roasting a much larger bird, keep in mind that 15 to 20 minutes per pound generally works.

Nutrition Facts
How To Roast a Turkey
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 414 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 193mg64%
Sodium 592mg26%
Potassium 617mg18%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 58g116%
Vitamin A 346IU7%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 36mg4%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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