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Course: Mains
Keyword: Alton's Roast Turkey, Fall, Gluten-Free, Holidays, Meats, Thanksgiving

Alton's Roast Turkey

ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 12 hours
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
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Alton's Roast Turkey

  • 1 (14- to 16-pound) frozen young turkey, giblets removed

For the brine

  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 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, quartered
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil

Specialized Hardware

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Probe thermometer
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 12 hours
Yield: 10 to 12 servings


  • 2 to 3 days before roasting: Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38ºF.
  • 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. Remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
  • Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat: Combine the brine, water, and ice in a 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey breast-side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
  • Heat oven to 500ºF. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
  • Place the bird on a roasting rack set inside a half-sheet 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 500ºF for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 151ºF. 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.
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