From Tim So, Gracepoint Berkeley
I pretty much completely disown what I previously said about cooking turkey: this is after several years of cooking probably hundreds of pounds of poultry. If you listen to me, then listen to the whole instructions: if not, then just do whatever you want.
-diamond crystal kosher salt (use of other salt will void warranty)
-sugar (as long as its not confectioners, doesn't matter what kind)
-A very large ziploc bag that can fit the turkey (a.k.a. brining bag)
1. Defrost turkey, remove truss if it's metal (plastic is fine to leave on), remove the giblets if they are present. If turkey is not completely defrosted, the next step will actually accelerate the defrosting process, so not to worry.
**NOTE if high heat roasting, you will have to detruss the legs and cut off any excess skin around the neck area to ensure there is air flow through the main cavity of the bird. If not high heat roasting, ignore this note.
2. Make the brine. Combine 2 cups of the diamond crystal kosher salt, 2 cups of the sugar, and 6 quarts of water (1.5 gallons). BY THE WAY, NOT MEASURING THIS OUT OR USING A DIFFERENT KIND OF SALT COUNTS AS NOT LISTENING TO THE WHOLE INSTRUCTIONS. Rub the crystals of salt and sugar with your fingers until they dissolve and you there are no solutes in your brine.
3. Put the turkey in the bag. Pour the brine into the bag. Force out as much air as possible. Completely submerge the bird. If you need to add liquid, measure out how much water you are adding and then add a proportional amount of salt and sugar. Make sure you do not have any crystals of sugar and/or salt when doing this. If you're short on time, you can stuff the cavity of the bird with potatoes or onions or something cheap, waterproof, and non reactive as the concentration of the brine is all that counts, not the amount.
4. Wait at least 8 hours, preferably 24 or more.
5. Cook the turkey. YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT FOR THIS! I've roasted at 325, roasted at 425, hot smoked it with tea and cinnamon, stuffed it, fried it etc. YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT FOR THIS PART! If you stuff aromatics in the turkey's cavity like celery and onion, this generally does nothing other than wasting some celery and onion and ruining your high heat roast if you're attempting that method without reading the note that says you cannot put anything in the cavity when doing that, but it's a free country and you can do whatever you want.
6. Do not attempt to use the pop up thermo that came with your turkey. Do not ask how long you should cook the turkey. Use an instant read thermometer. Do not attempt to use the pop up thermo that came with your turkey. Do not ask how long you should cook the turkey. Use an instant read thermometer.
7. The turkey is done when the coldest part of the breast reads 150F. Do not use the pop up thermo or attempt to time the turkey.