2 days from brining to the finished turkey
Cooking time and temperature
450 degrees for the first 20 minutes, then 325 degrees for the next 2-3 hours or until done.
Very large plastic container
Roasting pan with rack
Instant read meat thermometer
Heavy duty aluminum foil
1 fresh turkey 12-20 pounds
1/4 - 1/2 cup poultry brine seasoning
Water to cover the turkey. You can brine it in a cooler as long as it stays as cold as a refrigerator!
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
4-8 TB unsalted butter or solid vegetable shortening
Unwrap and rinse turkey and remove giblets, reserving for gravy. Mix brining seasoning, kosher salt and sugar with water in the large plastic container until the salt and sugar are mostly dissolved. Gently place the turkey into the brine. Store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly.
Salt and pepper the turkey inside and out with coarse salt and fresh pepper.
Place on a platter and refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours. This will cause the meat to pull away from the skin and the skin to dry out to become crispy during the cooking process.
On the day you are serving the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. If you are stuffing the turkey, this is the time to do that. Place it on a rack in a roasting pan breast side up.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Cover the turkey all over the top with cheesecloth.
Spread the butter or shortening all over the cheesecloth to, more or less, secure the cloth to the turkey.
Place in the preheated oven at 475 degrees for 20 minutes and then lower it to 325 degrees for the remainder of the cooking time.
Turkey will only need to be basted once or twice because of the cheesecloth. I sometimes forget to baste at all and it is fine. It is done when a thermometer placed into the thickest part of the breast reads between 170 and 180. It will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven, so do not let it get too done.
Remove from the oven and cover tightly with thick aluminum foil. The turkey needs to rest for 30 minutes at least. It will look like a turkey in a magazine picture!
You have plenty of time to bake dressing and vegetables while the turkey is resting.
Remove the cheesecloth gently before carving.