herbs and pomegranate seeds for garnishingoptional
Prepare the Ingredients
Follow thawing instructions for the turkey, based on turkey weight. Remove the neck and giblets from the inside of the turkey and save for making gravy and dressing.
The rule of thumb for safely thawing a turkey in the refrigerator is 24 hours for every 5 pounds of frozen turkey. So, for a 20 pound turkey, you'd want to allow 4 full days of thawing time. A 14-16 pound turkey would need 3 days.
Using a sharp knife and cutting board, slice the onion into large chunks. Cut lemons in half.
Peel one head of garlic and break cloves apart.
Make the Brine
In a large stockpot or container, combine the hot water, kosher salt, and brown sugar. Stir together with a long-handled spoon until dissolved. Add in the prepared onion, lemons, garlic cloves, bay leaves, fresh thyme and rosemary, and black peppercorns.
Place the fresh or thawed frozen turkey in the stockpot or large container. I used my large stockpot, but you might also use an ice chest if your turkey is too large.
Add enough cold water to cover the turkey by 2-3 inches. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
Roast the Turkey
When it's time to roast the turkey, preheat oven to 350 degrees, setting the rack on the lower third of the oven.
Remove the turkey from the brined mixture and then drain the brine into a colander to catch the lemon, onions, garlic, and herbs. Tuck these collected items inside the cavity of the turkey.
Pat the skin of the turkey dry with paper towels. Tie ends of the turkey legs with kitchen twine and tuck wing tips.
Spread softened butter under the skin of the turkey breast and spread olive oil all over the the top and bottom of the turkey. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place the turkey inside a plastic turkey-sized baking bag that has been coated with all-purpose flour as per bag instructions. Tie down bag and snip air holes as instructed. Place bag in a large roasting pan with a wire rack in the bottom of the pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 2-2 1/4 hours, until a meat thermometer reads at least 165°F in several places not touching the bone, and 180°F for the dark meat. The turkey skin should be a deep golden brown when done.
Transfer turkey to a cutting board and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving. Strain drippings from bag and use to make gravy. Once carved, cover with aluminum foil to keep warm until ready to serve.
Serve on a large platter. If desired, garnish with herbs and pomegranate seeds. This recipe will serve 10-12 people.
*For this recipe you'll also need a Turkey Baking Bag. **This baking time is based on a 14-16 pound unstuffed turkey, so if you are baking a larger bird or stuffing it with dressing, please use baking oven guide above.***Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted.