Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever. Period.

I’ve made various recipes over the years yet this one was hands down voted the best by every family member that had some.

The recipe is actually a combination of two separate recipes. I took the brine portion from one, and instead of continuing and cooking it as-is, I picked up another recipe to finish things off. The combination of flavors in the end, along with the moisture retained by brining results in an always moist and very delicious turkey for Thanksgiving. On top of that, its a fairly easy recipe to prepare. So without further adieu…

Brine

  • 1 1/2 gal water
  • 1 1/2c real maple syrup
  • 1c Morton Kosher salt
  • 3/4c brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a brining bag. You may need to use a food grade bucket based on the size of your turkey. Brine the turkey overnight in the refrigerator or in a cooler filled with ice. 

Some recommend boiling everything to help dissolve all ingredients but I don’t bother. If you do boil as your normal brining routine, make sure to cool to room temperature and chill in the refrigerator before adding the turkey to the brine. I usually end up making 2-3 batches of brine to completely cover the turkey in the bucket. 

Turkey

  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper
  • 1 onion – quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Granny Smith apple – quartered
  • 1c butter – at room temperature
  • 2Tbsp rosemary leaves – fresh and chopped
  • 2Tbsp thyme leaves – fresh and chopped
  • 6 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 3c apple juice
  • 1c water
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Remove giblets from turkey cavity, rinse turkey and pat dry.
  3. Place turkey on roasting rack in roasting pan, breast side up.
  4. Salt and pepper inside and outside of the turkey.
  5. In a small bowl, combine butter with 2Tbsp of rosemary and 2Tbsp of thyme.
  6. Spread the butter mixture between the skin and the meat going as far up the breast as possible. Coat the outside of the skin with any leftover butter mixture.
  7. Place quartered apple, onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme sprigs in the cavity of the turkey.
  8. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine
  9. Pour the apple juice and water into the roasting pan and place the turkey in the oven.
  10. Cook the turkey until done (180°F in deepest part of the thigh), basting as needed. Don’t over-baste because opening the door frequently lengthens roasting time. Note: With a brined turkey, it seems like the cook time is 15-20min/lb which is significantly shorter than an unbrined turkey. 
  11. If the turkey browns too quickly, cover with a loose aluminum foil tent.
  12. When the turkey is done, allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

So today I tried an experiment. I took two different recipes and adapted them together. The first was a brine, the second was for the roasting. Here’s what I did in case you want to try it…

Brine:

  • 2 gallons Water
  • 1 gallon Apple Juice
  • 1c Kosher Salt
  • 3/4c Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2c Maple Syrup

Combine in brining bag or unscented trash bag in 5 gallon bucket, cooler, etc. Use your imagination. Just keep the turkey refrigerated and totally covered in liquid during this process. Brine about 12 hours or overnight.

Once done brining, pat the turkey dry and continue with this roasting recipe:

  • 1c butter (room temp)
  • 2T Rosemary
  • 2T Thyme
  • 1 Onion (quartered)
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple (quartered)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 6 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 6 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 3c Apple Juice
  • 1c Water

Combine butter, rosemary and thyme together and rub under turkey skin. Rub any leftover butter mix all over turkey. Insert onion, apple, garlic, rosemary and thyme sprigs into turkey cavity and tie legs together. Place in roasting pan along with the apple juice and water. Roast per instructions for turkey size covering with foil once skin browns. Temperature should read 180°F in thickest part of the breast and leg. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let stand 30 minutes before carving. Enjoy!