Perfect Roast Turkey

May 9, 2010 / By Foodland

Perfect Roast Turkey

A family favorite that's hard to beat
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Chicken, Turkey
Servings 12 Servings


  • 4 cups kosher salt or 2 cups table salt
  • 1 turkey (12-14 lbs. gross weight), rinsed thoroughly, giblets, neck and tailpiece removed and reserved to make gravy
  • 1.5 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1.5 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 6 thyme
  • 2 lemons, cut into quarters
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 stick of butter, melted


  1. Dissolve salt in 2 gallons of cold water in large stockpot or clean bucket.
  2. Add turkey and refrigerate or set in very cool (40°F or less) pot for 4-6 hours.
  3. Remove turkey from salt water and rinse both cavities and skin under cool running water for several minutes until all traces of salt are gone.
  4. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels.
  5. Place turkey on meat rack set over rimmed sheet pan.
  6. Place turkey in refrigerator, uncovered, and air-dry for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  7. The skin should be dry.
  8. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400°.
  9. Toss one-third of onion, carrot, celery, thyme, lemon and garlic with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
  10. Place this vegetable mixture into the body cavity of the turkey.
  11. Bring turkey legs together and perform a simple truss (tying of the two legs together).
  12. Scatter remaining vegetables and thyme over a shallow roasting pan.
  13. Pour 1 cup of water over vegetables.
  14. Set a V-rack in pan.
  15. Brush the entire breast side of turkey with half of remaining melted butter, then place turkey, breast side down on V-rack.
  16. Brush entire backside of turkey with remaining butter.
  17. Roast for 45 minutes.
  18. Remove pan from oven; baste with juices from pan.
  19. With wad of paper towel in each hand, turn turkey, breast side up.
  20. If liquid in pan has totally evaporated, add another 1/2 cup water.
  21. Return turkey to oven and roast for 15 minutes.
  22. Remove turkey from over for final time, baste; roast until breast registers about 165° and thigh registers 170-175° on an instant-read thermometer, 30-45 minutes.
  23. Remove turkey from pan and let it rest until ready to carve.
  24. Note: The salt brine keeps the turkey moist when roasting.
  25. Drying the skin in the refrigerator will ensure a crisp and golden skin.
  26. The vegetables and lemon will add aromatic flavors to the turkey, they are purely for flavor and not to be consumed.
  27. You may make stuffing separately and bake in a casserole.
  28. If the color of the turkey gets too dark, place a piece of foil on the turkey to keep it from browning further.
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