Brined and Roasted Turkey
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup sugar
10–12-lb. natural turkey (giblets and neck removed)
8 tbsp. melted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Toast sage in a skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Put sage into a large pot with salt, sugar, and 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and stir in 6 quarts water; let cool completely.
2. Put brine and turkey into a brining bag; seal and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 325°. Remove turkey from brine; pat dry. Lift up skin at neck of bird; cut and pull out wishbone (make a wish and discard, if you like). Place turkey on a roasting rack nestled in a roasting pan, breast side up, and tuck wings under the body. Brush turkey all over with butter; sprinkle with pepper to taste. Tie legs together with butcher's twine. Roast turkey, basting every 30 minutes, until deep golden brown and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching bone) registers 165° degrees, 2 1⁄2–3 hours. (Some people cook their turkey to 175° or above. We like to cook ours to a lower temperature to preserve the succulence of the breast, as it continues to cook once the bird is removed from the oven. ) Let turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving (see How to Carve a Turkey).
SERVES 8 – 10