Cook's Illustrated's Roasted Brined Turkey Recipe

When we talked to Cook's Illustrated publisher Chris Kimball about the November 2007 issue of the magazine, we asked for his turkey recipe. You may not be able to get a fresh turkey from your neighbor across the street, like Kimball did, but you'll be able to cook a turkey just as moist and flavorful.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Brining Time: 4 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 10 mins

Rate & Comment


  • Table salt
  • 1 turkey (12-14 pounds gross weight), rinsed thoroughly, giblets and neck reserved for gravy, if making
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. Dissolve 1 cup salt per gallon cold water for 4 to 6-hour brine or 1/2 cup salt per gallon cold water for 12- to 14-hour brine in large stockpot or clean bucket. Submerge turkey completely and refrigerate for predetermined amount of time.

  2. Before removing turkey from brine, adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 400°F. Line large V-rack with heavy-duty foil and use paring knife or skewer to poke 20 to 30 holes in foil; set V-rack in large roasting pan.

  3. Remove turkey from brine and rinse well under cool running water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels. Tuck tips of drumsticks into skin at tail to secure; tuck wing tips behind back. Brush turkey breast with 2 tablespoons butter. Set turkey breast-side down on prepared V-rack; brush back with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Roast 45 minutes.

  4. Remove roasting pan with turkey from oven (close oven door to retain oven heat). Using clean potholders or kitchen towels, rotate turkey breast-side up; continue to roast until thickest part of breast registers 165 degrees and thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 50 to 60 minutes longer. Transfer turkey to carving board: let rest 30 minutes. Carve and serve.