This is hands down the best turkey recipe I have tried! I saw this recipe in Cooking Light about 6 years ago and I used it to roast my first turkey that same Thanksgiving. This is by far my favorite turkey recipe and it has now become my go to turkey recipe. It has also been rated very highly by Cooking Light readers and received the highest ratings from their test kitchens. The turkey is so moist and tender and it has an amazing flavor. It is brined overnight, so you will need to plan ahead, especially if you are using a frozen turkey. There are many ingredients, but the recipe is very easy to put together and the turkey cooks for a short amount of time compared to other recipes I have seen. It is a simple recipe and the turkey didn’t need a lot of attention once it was in the oven, there was no need for basting at all. The herb gravy has so much flavor and is perfect on a big pile of mashed potatoes. If you try this recipe this Thanksgiving, I promise that you and your guests will not be disappointed. Hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving this year!
8 cups apple cider
2/3 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
1 tablespoon whole allspice, coarsely crushed
8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled fresh ginger
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
2 oranges, quartered
6 cups ice
4 garlic cloves
4 sage leaves
4 thyme sprigs
4 parsley sprigs
2 onions, quartered
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
To prepare brine, combine first 8 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely.
Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve for Savory Herb Gravy. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Stuff body cavity with orange quarters. Place a turkey-sized oven bag inside a second bag to form a double thickness. Place bags in a large stockpot. Place turkey inside inner bag. Add cider mixture and ice. Secure bags with several twist ties. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 500º.
Remove turkey from bags, and discard brine, orange quarters, and bags. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Place garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, one quartered onion, and broth in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side down, on roasting rack and stuff the body cavity with the remaining quartered onion. Brush turkey back with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 500º for 30 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350º.
Remove turkey from oven. Carefully turn turkey over (breast side up) using tongs. Brush turkey breast with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 350º for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 170º (make sure not to touch bone). (Shield the turkey with foil if it browns too quickly.) Remove turkey from oven; let stand 20 minutes. Reserve pan drippings for Savory Herb Gravy. Discard skin before serving; serve with gravy.
Adapted From: Cooking Light