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Chris Ward’s Turkey Brine

Chris Ward’s Turkey Brine

photography by Bode Helm

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(Serves 6-8)

1 18-pound turkey
1 1/4 cups kosher salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 lemons, cut in half
6 sprigs fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh thyme
12 leaves fresh sage
2 tablespoons mustard seed
5 bay leaves
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
2 gallons boiling water
1½ pounds butter, for basting

For the brine:
Combine all ingredients except the boiling water in a 5-gallon heat-proof container, large enough to hold the turkey. Pour the boiling water over the brine ingredients and allow the mixture to cool at room temperature. Submerge the turkey in the brine, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

For the turkey: Preheat oven to 350°. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse under cold water. Cook for 2½ to 3½ hours or until an internal temperature of 155° to 160° is reached. Baste every 30 minutes with 1½ pounds of melted butter. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

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