Recipe by dillonsmimi, Premium Member © 2010 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
I found this a few years ago and have tweaked it a bit. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your family's palate.
HERBS AND SPICES INGREDIENT HELP
6 qts tap water
1 lb kosher salt
1 C molasses (I use Grandma's Original)
2 C honey
1 C soy sauce
1 T red pepper flakes
1 T dried sage
large bunch fresh thyme
2 heads garlic pods, broken into cloves (leave peeling on)
5 lbs ice cubes
14-20 lb turkey, cleaned well inside and out, removing innards
1 lb butter
2 lemons, zested
In a large pot, bring 3 qts of the water to a boil over med heat. Add the salt and stir to dissolve.
Add the next 7 ingredients to the pot and stir to combine.
Add the rest of the water to the pot.
Place the ice in an ice cooler or a pot large enough to hold the turkey and all the brine. I use a HUGE canning pot for this.
Pour the brine over the ice and mix well.
Submerge the turkey, breast down, in the brine, making sure the cavity fills.
Cover the pot and allow it to sit overnight or at least 12 hours in the refrigerator the entire time.
After brining for the proper amount of time, remove the bird from the liquid and dry THOROUGHLY with thick absorbent paper towels. Take care to wipe inside the cavity as well. Discard the brine.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Incorporate the zest into one pound softened butter.
Gently lift the skin from the breast area and apply to this space you have made. This will add extra richness to the finished product.
Arrange turkey in a good heavy roasting rack fitted with a rack, breast side up.
This is where I deviate. I place the bird into a large Reynolds brand baking bag and secure with the little tie and make a couple of vents with a knife, THEN I place on rack in the pan and insert oven thermometer in the meaty part of one thigh, making sure to avoid the bone.
Place pan on lowest rack position and roast until the internal temp of the thigh reaches 160 degrees, about 3.5 hours.
Remove from oven, allow to rest under an aluminum foil tent for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving.