1 turkey (12-14 pounds gross weight)
2 cups kosher salt or 1 1/2 cups table salt
1/2 stick of butter
Large pot or bucket
Roasting pan with rack
THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING- BRINE YOUR TURKEY
1) Empty cavity of turkey, removing neck and giblets.
2) Place your (completely defrosted) turkey in a large pot or clean bucket large enough to hold it. Add salt and 2 gallons of cold water to cover the turkey completely, rubbing salt into bird and stirring water until salt dissolves. Set in the refrigerator, (temperature should be no higher than 40 degrees) for 10-12 hours.
3) Prepare the stuffing of your choice. Allow stuffing to cool completely.
4) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
5) Remove turkey from salt water and rinse cavity and skin under cool running water for several minutes until all traces of salt are gone. (Make sure you carefully dispose of the salt water to keep bacteria from spreading).
6) After rinsing turkey thoroughly, pat dry with a paper towel.
7) Stuff turkey. Bring turkey legs together and truss. (Any extra stuffing place in casserole dish, cover with foil and refrigerate to cook during the last 45 minutes of cooking time of turkey).
8) Rub entire turkey with butter. Bend wings, tucking them under neck cavity.
9) Place turkey (breast side up) in roasting pan with rack in the bottom to keep bird from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan. Put foil over the breast to keep from breast from over browning. Remove foil from breast half way through cooking time to allow for browning.
10) Cook until meat thermometer stuck in leg pit registers 180-185 degrees and internal temperature of stuffing registers no lower than 165 degrees, for a 12-14 pound turkey approx. 3 1/2 to 4 hours. (For a larger bird, you'll have to adjust the cooking time. Click on the USDA link below for cooking times).
11) When turkey is done, transfer to a platter and allow to rest (under foil to keep warm) for 20 minutes. While the turkey rests, make your gravy.
ENJOY! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
For more information, here are some helpful links and phone numbers:
Butterball Turkey Hotline: