Select Page

Thanksgiving Turkey



Ready In:



About this Recipe

I grew up thinking I had an intense dislike for turkey.  Poor bird – at Thankgiving and Christmas, my grandmother would make me pizza (because she was just that awesome).

When my kids were little, I discovered cooking tv – and decided that the turkey cooks of  my past were missing something, and with a little help from those virtual chefs, I could do better.  And I did! I've changed some things along the way, but my turkeys are always delicious.  2 Steps to not skip are brining, and basting.  Add a little cheesecloth, and you are on your way!!


  • 3+ cups  coarse salt
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 5 celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 medium leeks, trim the dark green and discard, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions coarsely chopped
  • dried bay leaves
  • sprigs fresh thyme
  • sprigs italian parsley
  • 2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 fresh whole turkey – 14-16lbs 
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 Bottle dry white wine

 Make sure to leave enough time to brine your turkey for at least 24 hours.  The brining and basting process is the key to a super moist result that will be loved by all xo

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Place first 10 ingredients in a large stock pot (no turkey yet).  Add 10 cups water.  Bring to a boil. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved.  Remove from heat; cool completely.

Step 2

Once brine has cooled, add the turkey to the pot, or grab a handy brining bag.  Place turkey an the bag and pour brine over making sure the turkeys breast is down.  Refrigerate at least 24 hours.  Remove from the brine and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place oven rack on lowest position.  In a medium size saucepan, melt 1 cup of the butter and add wine.  Fold a large piece of cheesecloth and immerse in the butter/wine mixture and let soak.  

Step 4

Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Make sure to remove giblets and other organs that may be stored in the chest or back of the turkey. Fold wing tips under turkey.  Sprinkle sale and pepper inside turkey. Tie legs together with Kitchen twine.  Rub turkey with softened butter all over, season with salt and pepper.  Place giblets and organs with 1-2 quarts of water in saucepan to simmer while turkey cooks.

Step 5

Remove cheesecloth from butter/wine mixture.  Arrange cheesecloth on turkey making sure to cover entire top of turkey and down sides.  Place turkey in oven.  Roast for 30 minutes at 450 degrees.  Brush cheesecloth and any exposed turkey surface with the butter/wine mixture.  Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees.  Roast, brushing every 30 minutes for 2 1/2 hours more, turning turkey with each basting cycle.  If turkey skin becomes too dark, cover with foil to prevent further browning.  

Step 6

After the 3rd hour of cooking, remove and discard the cheesecloth. Begin tracking the turkey temperature with either an instant read thermometer, or an in oven thermometer.  Temperature should be read at the thickest part of the thigh.  It may take as long as another hour to reach the desired temperature of 165 degrees.  When it does, remove turkey and let rest for 30-60 minutes while you complete the rest of the meal and the gravy.  

  Step 7

Transfer turkey to a serving platter or cutting board to rest.  To make an au jus gravy, pour the pan juices into a glass measuring cup or a fat separator.  Remove the fat once it rises to the top.  In the meanwhile, place the roasting pan over medium-high heat and add 1 cup white wine to the pan.  Scrape the pan to unstickall the bits that are on the bottom of the pan.  Add the giblet stock that has been simmering all afternoon.  Bring to a boil and let boil until volume is reduced by half.  Add the pan juices back in and cook another 10 minutes.  

More Recipes