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Roast Brined Turkey

by in Nov 2004
Roast Brined Turkey
7 votes, 4.86 avg. rating (94% score)
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Chef Sam Hayward strongly recommends brining turkey because no other method does such a good job of creating moist and flavorful meat. If you haven’t brined before, make this the one new thing you try this year. Instructions can be found at the recipe for Sam Hayward’s Brined Turkey.

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  • 1 brined turkey
  • Extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400°. Tie the ends of the turkey’s leg bones together with soft twine. Massage the skin well with plenty of olive oil (thanks to the brining, you don’t need to sprinkle it with salt and pepper).
Place the turkey breast side down in a large roasting pan. Place in oven and immediately reduce heat to 325º. Roast the bird this way for about 10 minutes per pound, basting occasionally. Remove turkey from the oven, turn it over onto its back, return to oven, and continue roasting for an additional 5 or 6 minutes per pound, basting occasionally.
The bird is fully cooked when an instant-read thermometer registers 150º when inserted into the crease between the thigh and the lower breast, the legs move easily in their hip sockets, and juices run clear when the inner thigh meat is pierced with a meat fork. (A note from Sam: “The government suggests much higher cooking temperatures, as high as 165º, to kill food-borne disease organisms, usually resulting in a cooked texture somewhere between beef jerky and compressed sawdust. A conscientious local poultry farmer, careful handling procedures, a clean kitchen, and brining all help to reduce the risk of food-borne disease in poultry, rendering such appalling overcooking unnecessary.”)

Updated Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

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4 Responses to Roast Brined Turkey

  1. Carla Boudreau October 5, 2005 at 1:03 pm #

    I used a different brine (William Sonoma)and didn’t do the flipping of the turkey…but I followed the advice about the turkey being fully cooked at 150 degrees. I was nervous at first b/c the cooking time was cut in half and the popper didn’t pop…but the temp was right on. It was our first Thanksgiving so we were pretty nervous! However, it was the best turkey we ever had! My mother was impressed…and for her to say she is looking forward to this year’s turkey is a sure testament that this recipe works. See Mom, I can graduate from mac and cheese!

  2. Hildegard Sprenzel-Wacker November 21, 2005 at 11:37 pm #

    It was the best turkey we ever had, but I lost the recipe of the brine and would love to have it again!!!

  3. Anonymous June 20, 2006 at 5:27 pm #

    Actually, the turkey will continue to cook as it is allowed to “rest” for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. It will approach the 165

  4. Steve Pond November 29, 2006 at 1:41 pm #

    What a difference the brine method made. The meat was by far the most tender, moist and flavorful I have ever had. The perfect remedy to prevent dry tasteless turkey.

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