1 each Natural Turkey, 12 -15 pounds. Choose a bird that has not been pumped with solutions and/or has a pop up doneness indicator. Thaw in refrigerator for 2-3 days. Remove neck and giblets.
For the brine
- 1 gallon Water
- 1 gallon Unfiltered or fresh apple juice
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Kosher salt
- 2 each Lemons, halved
- 2 each Oranges, halved
- 10 each Garlic cloves, smashed
- 4 each Bay leaves
- 3 each Cinnamon sticks
- 3 Tablespoons Pickling spice
Place water, apple juice, salt and sugar in a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Add remaining ingredients. Be sure to place the turkey breast end first into the brine. Add more water if turkey is not submerged completely. Refrigerate at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
can be made one day ahead
- 1 each Apple, cored, skin on, medium dice
- 1 each Orange, peel on, medium dice
- 1 each Lemon, peel on, medium dice
- ¼ Cup Onions, medium dice
- ¼ Cup Celery, medium dice
- ¼ Cup Carrots, medium dice
- 10 each Sage leaves, chopped
- 3 each Rosemary sprigs, leaves removed, rough chop
- ¼ Cup Italian parsley, rough chop
- 6 Tablespoons Olive oil (divided use)
- 1 Tablespoon + 2 Teaspoons Poultry seasoning (divided use)
- Black Pepper to taste
- Juice of one orange
Combine all ingredients, except 1 tablespoon of the poultry seasoning and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, in a large bowl and toss until well mixed.
Prepare/cook the bird
- Start this process at least 5 hours before you want to eat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the bird from the brine. Discard brine. Pat the turkey dry, inside and out, with paper towels.
- Transfer the bird to a roasting pan with a rack, breast side up.
- Loosely stuff the large gut cavity with about ¾ of the aromatics, about a cup and a half. Place as much of the remaining aromatics as possible in the small neck cavity. Pull the neck skin down and secure by folding the wing tips under the bird.
- Rub the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil all over the turkey. Sprinkle with the remaining poultry seasoning and black pepper.
- Fold a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil so that it has 4 layers and is about 8” x 8”. Place this directly against the skin over the breast portion of the bird. This will allow the breast to cook at the same rate as the legs and thighs.
- Cook the bird about 3 ½ hours. This time is just a guideline! The bird is done when the thermometer says it is. Brining will make the turkey cook a little faster.
- After about 2 ½ hours, remove the foil from the breast. If the uncovered portion of the turkey is browning, tent some foil over that but leave the breast exposed.
- Check the turkey’s thigh temperature. When it reaches 150 -155 degrees remove it from the oven. Place the bird on the counter away from the oven.
- Remove all the foil. LET IT REST AT LEAST 45 MINUTES! The turkey will continue to cook and reach a safe temperature of 165 degrees.
- Carefully move the bird to a cutting board. Carve.