Honey Brined Turkey
NOTE: Allow 12 – 18 hours for the turkey to marinate in the brine. The measurements are approximate, as the amount of some ingredients will depend on how large your turkey is. Stuffing a brined turkey is not recommended.
- 1 fresh or frozen (thawed) whole turkey
- 8-10 quarts of water
- 2 C kosher salt
- 1 C honey
- 3-4 T coarsely ground black pepper
- 10-12 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 bunches fresh thyme
- 1 bunch fresh sage
- 4-5 C poultry stock
- 2-3 lemons
- 2-4 T olive oil
Prepare brine by mixing water, honey and salt in a large bowl. Stir until honey dissolves. Add half the thyme and sage along with the garlic and black pepper. Set aside. Remove giblets and neck from turkey, reserve for gravy if desired. Rinse turkey with cold running water and drain well. Blot dry with paper towels. Line an extra-large stock pot with a food-safe plastic bag. Place the rinsed turkey in the bag and pour brine over the turkey. Gather the bag tightly around the turkey, causing the bird to be completely covered by the brine. Seal the bag and refrigerate the pot, bag and brined turkey for at least 12 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry inside and out. Discard brine.Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large shallow (about 2 1/2″ deep) roasting pan. Squeeze lemon juice into the main turkey cavity. Put the squeezed lemon halves into the cavity along with the rest of the thyme and sage. Coat turkey lightly with oil and sprinkle inside and out with salt, pepper. Roast turkey, basting with poultry stock every half hour or so. Loosely cover with aluminum foil to prevent over browning–remove foil during last hour and a half of cooking time.
Continue to roast until thermometer registers 180Â°F in the thigh, or 170°F. in the breast. Remove turkey from the oven and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.