Classic Roast Turkey with Juniper Brine

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This picture-perfect turkey will make a beautiful centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. The skin will be crisp and golden hued, the meat will be moist (yes, even the breast meat!), and the flavor will be divine because you took care every step of the way. Brining is the answer to a moist turkey, and basting and turning it insures a fully browned and beautiful bird. Giving the bird time to rest after roasting (not you, just the bird) sets and seals in the juices. Your guests will be impressed!

To Truss an Unstuffed Turkey: Have ready one 4-foot length of kitchen twine. Place the turkey on a work surface with the legs facing you. Center the twine across the back (under the shoulders) of the turkey. Make sure the flap of neck skin covers the neck cavity and is secured by the twine. With an end in each hand, pull the string up over the top of the breast, tightening it so that the wings are drawn in close to the body; then cross over the two ends and tie. Now bring the twine down to the legs, bring the legs together, wrap the string around the ends (knobs) of the legs, and tie a knot. Trim any extra length of twine.

Cooking Methodroasting



Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturejuicy, savory, spiced


  • 2 large yellow onions (about 12 ounces each), diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 large ribs celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 brined turkey (12 to 16 pounds) made with Juniper Brine 
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted


  1. Combine the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, sage, thyme, salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.

  2. Position an oven rack on the second-lowest level in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Have ready a large roasting pan with a roasting rack, preferably V-shaped, set in the pan.

  3. Put ½ cup of the vegetable mixture inside the neck cavity and 1½ cups inside the chest cavity. Scatter the remainder on the bottom of the roasting pan and add 2 cups of water to the pan. Truss the turkey following the directions below. Use a pastry brush to brush the turkey with half of the butter. Place the turkey, breast-side down, on the rack. Roast for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Baste the turkey with the pan juices, and roast an additional 30 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. Using oven mitts covered with aluminum foil, or wads of paper towels, turn the turkey breast-side up. Baste with pan juices, and then return the turkey to the oven. Continue to roast, basting with pan juices after 45 minutes. After another 45 minutes, baste with the remaining butter. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. When the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 125°F, the turkey is about 1 hour away from being done. (Roasting times will vary, depending on the size of the bird, its temperature when it went into the oven, whether or not it is stuffed, and your particular oven and the accuracy of the thermostat.



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