Dan Barber's Thanksgiving Dinner

See Also
More Holiday Recipes
  Brined, Roasted Turkey With Its Own "Gravy"

The Chef
Dan Barber Blue Hill

Serves 8

11⁄2 cups kosher salt
1⁄2 cup plus
3 tablespoons sugar
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
7 cloves
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

Cooking Instructions
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