Serves 6 to 10
Chef Sherry Pocknett of the Pequot Museum brines a heritage breed turkey overnight in a maple syrup mixture, then roasts the bird in a pan covered completely with brown paper bags. It keeps the bird juicy and the skin turns golden. The bag does not burn in the oven.
|2||cups kosher salt|
|2||cups maple syrup|
|4||sprigs fresh thyme|
|4||cedar needle fronds (optional)|
|1||bulb garlic, cloves peeled and halved|
|¼||cup whole black peppercorns|
|1||whole turkey (14 to 20 pounds), giblets removed|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|Vegetable oil (for rubbing turkey)|
1. Have on hand a clean 5-gallon bucket.
2. In a soup pot, combine the water, salt, maple syrup, thyme, cedar needles (if using), half the garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil slowly so the salt dissolves. Set aside to cool.
3. Place the turkey in the bucket. Add the brine, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.
4. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a roasting pan large enough to hold the turkey. You also need 2 brown paper bags large enough to go over the pan and bird.
5. Remove the turkey from the brine. Drain it and pat dry. Set the turkey in the roasting pan. Sprinkle the inside with the remaining garlic, salt, and pepper. Rub the bird all over with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Slide 1 of the brown bags over one side of the turkey and pan. Use the other bag to slide over the opposite end of the turkey and pan. You may need to cut the second bag to fit over the first bag. (The brown bags should go over both the turkey and the pan, not over the turkey alone.)
7. Roast the turkey for 3¾ to 4¼ hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees.
8. Use scissors to cut the bags and pull them open. Let the turkey rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving (the internal temperature will rise at least 5 degrees).