Roasted {Brined} Turkey

from melskitchencafe.com

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

1 cup kosher/coarse 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 (no need to core or peel)

1/2 onion, sliced

1 cinnamon stick

1 cup water

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

6 leaves fresh sage

Canola oil

About 4-5 days before roasting, take the turkey out of the freezer (if using a fresh turkey, you can omit this step and just keep the turkey refrigerated), and place it in a 9X13-inch pan or larger to catch any raw turkey juices and place the pan in the refrigerator to thaw.

1-2 days before roasting, 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 until ready to use.

The night before roasting, combine the brine, water and ice in a large bucket (5-gallon or larger). Remove the innards from the turkey and place the thawed turkey breast side down in the brine. the turkey should be fully submerged in the liquid and ice. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in a cool area for 8 to 16 hours. Because I live in a cold climate, I usually stick my brining turkey on the back porch or in the garage, after I have made sure it will be cool enough to keep the turkey safe from high, warmer temperatures.

Move an oven rack to the lowest position and 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 a roasting rack inside a half sheet pan or roasting 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. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to roast for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the internal temperature of the turkey is 161 degrees. 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.