How to cook your Thanksgiving turkey is a a deep and personal decision. The team at the Waterford Bee Company has had endless hours of debate this week about how best to prepare a turkey. We do agree though that honey needs to be part of the conversation! We've used this Honey Brine several times and have always ended up with outstanding results.
1 fresh frozen whole turkey, thawed or 1 fresh frozen whole turkey
8 -10 quarts water
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup honey
3 -4 teaspoons fresh coarse ground black pepper
10 -12 garlic cloves, peeled-crushed
2 bunches fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh sage
4 -5 cups chicken stock
2 -3 lemons
2 -4 teaspoons olive oil
Remove giblets and neck from turkey, reserve for gravy. Rinse turkey with cold running water and drain well. Blot dry with paper towels.
Prepare brine by mixing water, honey and salt in a large bowl. Stir until honey dissolves. Add half the thyme and sage along with the garlic and black pepper. Set aside. Add chicken stock.
Line an extra-large stock pot with a food-safe plastic bag. Place the rinsed turkey in the bag and pour brine over the turkey. Gather the bag tightly around the turkey, causing the turkey to be surrounded by the brine. Seal the bag and refrigerate the pot, bag and brined turkey for at least 12 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 350°F Remove turkey from brine and pat dry inside and out. Discard brine. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large shallow (about 2 1/2" deep) roasting pan.
Squeeze lemon juice into the main turkey cavity. Put the squeezed lemon halves into the cavity along with the rest of the thyme and sage. Coat turkey lightly with oil and sprinkle inside and out with salt, pepper.
Insert an oven safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, being careful the pointed end of the thermometer does not touch the bone. Roast turkey, basting with poultry stock every half hour or so.
Loosely cover with aluminum foil to prevent over browning, remove foil during last hour and a half of cooking time. Continue to roast until thermometer registers 180°F in the thigh, or 170°F in the breast.
Remove turkey from the oven and allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes before carving.