The maple syrup and herbs in this turkey brine ensure an immensely moist and flavorful bird with delightful underlying sweetness. Guaranteed your guests will be trying to guess your secret ingredient!
- For the brine:
1 1/2 cups salt
16 cups water, divided
2 cups maple syrup
1/4 cup whole black peppercorns
2 rosemary sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
1 turkey, 12-20 pounds, rinsed and giblets removed
- For the turkey:
4 tbsp unsalted butter
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp paprika (optional)
2 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken or turkey broth
- For the gravy:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour, regular or gluten-free
1/2 cup pan juices
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken or turkey broth
To make the brine, in a very large stockpot or mixing bowl, combine the salt with 1 cup of hot water and stir until the salt is dissolved. Add the remaining 15 cups of cool water, the maple syrup, and the herbs and spices and stir. Carefully place the turkey in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours or up to 2 days.
One hour before roasting the turkey, remove it from the brine. Discard the brine, then thoroughly rinse the turkey. Pat dry with paper towels or a clean dish cloth until the turkey is completely dry inside and out. Place the turkey breast side up on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Immediately before roasting, brush the bird all over with the melted butter, then season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. If using, sprinkle the paprika all over the bird. Pour the broth into the bottom of the pan, then place the turkey in the oven. Depending on the size of your turkey, roast for 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours (12 min per pound is a good rule of thumb), or until the internal temperature of the meat close to the thigh bone but not touching it reads 165 degrees F. If you’d like, you can baste the bird once an hour, but if you do so, remove the turkey from the oven to baste and shut the oven door while you do it! This will keep the temperature of the oven steady and will keep your cooking time on track. (Did you know the oven temperature can drop 50 degrees every time it’s opened? Help a bird out and keep it closed!)
Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the rack and allow it to rest on a carving board, tented with foil. Carve when ready to serve.
To make the gravy, pour the pan juices through a mesh strainer. Allow to cool, then strain the fat off of the top of the juices. In a medium sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for one minute. Slowly pour in 1/2 cup of pan juices (and the wine if you’re using it), whisking constantly. Whisk in enough broth to equal two cups of liquid total, then simmer and whisk until it thickens. Taste, adding salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.
Amanda Haas is a cookbook author, cooking video host, and the founder of One Family One Meal, a website that helps families menu plan, grocery shop, and cook on a budget. Her cookbook, Real Family Food, features delicious family-friendly recipes, as well as simple tips for bringing your family together around the table and a strategy for meal planning, budgeting, and shopping.
- Main Dishes
- North American
- 16 lb turkey serves 14