Brined, Roasted Turkey With Its Own "Gravy"
Dan Barber Blue
11⁄2 cups kosher salt
1⁄2 cup plus
3 tablespoons sugar
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
11⁄2 teaspoons whole allspice berries, cracked
1⁄2 teaspoon juniper berries
14-pound turkey (preferably pasturized or organic)
2 sticks butter, softened
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the brine ingredients and 2 gallons of water in a large
stockpot, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and
allow the liquid to cool completely before straining. Add
the turkey to the pot, breast-side down, cover it with the
brine, and refrigerate overnight.
Drain the turkey, pat it dry, and set aside at room temperature
for 11⁄2 hours. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Carefully
separate the skin from the breast meat of the turkey, and
massage half the softened butter under the skin of each breast.
Rub the remaining butter all over the turkey, and season the
skin and the cavity liberally with salt and pepper.
Set the turkey breast-side up on a rack in a large roasting
pan. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast the
bird for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
Cover the turkey loosely with foil if it starts to take on
too much color too fast. Cook for 2 hours, basting every 15
minutes, then begin checking the internal temperature: When
the inner thigh reaches 150 degrees, the bird is done.
Remove turkey from oven, and transfer to a cutting board.
Let it stand at least 45 minutes to cool down. Remove the
legs and thighs, but don’t take too much skin. Place
them skin-side up in a roasting pan and return to the oven
for 40 to 45 minutes, or until juices run clear and the internal
temperature reaches 165 degrees. Return the rest of the turkey
to the oven for 5 minutes to reheat before serving. Slice
breast and thigh meat separately, and serve while still warm.
Photograph by Hans Gissinger