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Soy-brined turkey

Soy-brined turkey
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Like any child of the '50s, I have warm and fuzzy memories of Thanksgiving being more of a marathon than a meal. We would eat until we almost hurt, then start all over again. A feast like that was just ... Read more

Total time: 6 hours, plus 24 hours brining | Serves 12 (with leftovers)
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 (16- to 18-pound) fresh turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • Stuffing
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt, pepper

Step 1Combine the kosher salt, tamari, sugar, thyme, allspice, pepper flakes, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns in a stockpot large enough to hold the turkey. Add 2 gallons cold water. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and cool completely. Add the garlic and ginger.

Step 2Rinse the turkey inside and out. Lay it breast-side down into the cold brine. Refrigerate 12 hours, then turn the turkey so that the legs are immersed in the brine. Refrigerate 12 more hours.

Step 3Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Remove the turkey from the brine and drain well, then wipe clean; pat dry. Discard the brine.

Step 4Loosely fill with stuffing. Lay on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub with soft butter. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 30 minutes.

Step 5Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Roast, basting every 30 minutes with pan drippings, until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of the breast registers 180 degrees, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Step 6Remove the turkey from the oven and spoon the stuffing into a heatproof dish. Cover the turkey with a tent of foil and let it sit 30 minutes before carving.

Note: To make gravy, remove the turkey and set the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Stir 2 tablespoons of flour into 2 cups of cold water; whisk into pan drippings until thick. Add water if too thick, more slurry if too watery.


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