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The Best Turkey Brine

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Ingredients

 
1 (12- 14 pound) JENNIE-O® Tender & Juicy Young Turkey, thawed if frozen, neck and giblets removed
4 cup water
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¼ cup packed brown sugar
10 whole allspice berries
10 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns
5 whole star anise
1½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Directions

  1. TO DECONSTRUCT TURKEY:

    Place turkey, breast side up on a cutting board. Pull one wing outward to see where the wing attaches to the body. Using a sharp boning or chef’s knife, cut through the joint to separate the wing from the breast. Remove wing. Repeat on other side.

    Pull leg away from the body and slice between the leg and the breast to the thighbone. Bend the leg away from the body to pop the joint out of the socket. Cut through the joint to separate the leg with the thigh. Repeat on other side.

    Divide legs into thighs and drumsticks by turning each leg skin side down and cutting through the joint at the top of the drumstick.
    Using kitchen shears, cut down both sides of backbone where it meets the ribcage and remove.

    Place breast skin side up. Press down on breast to flatten. Flip breast over. Cut through the cartilage that runs between the 2 breasts. Using a firm pressing motion, snap the breast in two through the wishbone.

  2. TO BRINE:

    In a very large resealable plastic bag, combine water, 1⁄2 cup salt, brown sugar, allspice, cloves, peppercorns and star anise. Seal tightly and shake to dissolve salt and sugar. Add turkey parts. Seal tightly and place in a large bowl. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

  3. THREE HOURS PRIOR TO COOKING:

    Remove turkey from brine. Rinse well. Pat dry with paper towels.

    In small bowl, combine parsley, sage, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, oil, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Carefully run your hand between the turkey skin and meat to loosen skin. Rub parsley mixture over the meat and under the skin.

    Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.

  4. AT COOK TIME:

    Heat oven to 400° F.

    Rub turkey pieces with olive oil to lightly coat. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

    Lightly coat the bottom with olive oil. Working in batches, sear turkey pieces until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side.

    Transfer browned pieces to a large, rimmed sheet pan and arrange in a single layer.

    Roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each piece registers 165°F, about 1 hour. Start checking temperature of pieces after 40 minutes, transferring each piece from pan to a plate as it cooks through. Smaller parts, like thighs, will be done earlier and larger pieces, like drumsticks, can take up to 1 hour.