There are two secrets to roasting a juicy turkey that’s on the table when you planned for it to be. The first is to get a small turkey. 10-12 pounds. If you’re making enough for a crowd, opt for 2 turkeys over one giant one. First of all, turkeys aren’t meant to be 25 pounds. Fat turkeys don’t mean tasty turkeys. They just mean fat turkeys that dry out because you had to cook them for a week. Cooking a smaller turkey also means you can better estimate the cooking time.
Second is brining. Allow the turkey to soak in a salt and water solution for a day or so, and you’re guaranteed a juicy turkey.
1 10-12 pound turkey, giblets and neck removed
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 Tablespoon whole peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1 head of garlic, cut in half
1 Tablespoon dried thyme, or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cups water
6 cups ice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
Wash and dry turkey.
Heat water in a saucepan. When boiling, add salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, and thyme. Boil until salt has dissolved. Pour in a very large bowl and add ice.
When the brine is room temperature or cooler, place turkey in brine. Allow to soak for 8-24 hours.
Remove from brine, wash and pat dry. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Stuff turkey with cornbread stuffing. Coat the turkey with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes per pound, basting occasionally. Turkey is done when thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reaches 165 degrees.
Allow turkey to rest while making gravy. Serve.