SERVES: 8-10 guests
1 10-12 lb free range turkey
6 1/2 gallons water
5 1/2 lb kosher salt
1 lb demerara sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp black peppercorns, cracked
2 heads of garlic, halved horizontally
2 onions, peeled and sliced
A bunch of tarragon, with stalks
A bunch of parsley, with stalks
5 bay leaves
4 lemons, halved
Place all the ingredients for the brine, including the herbs and lemon halves in a stockpot and bring to a boil, stirring often, to encourage the salt and sugar to dissolve. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely; leave overnight if possible.
Put the turkey into a food-standard brine tub, pour on the brine and place a plate or something similar on top to keep the turkey submerged. If you can get the tub in your refrigerator, do so, if not, put it in a cool place, such as a pantry. Keep your turkey in the brine for 24-36 hours.
Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well under cold water, then pat dry. Let turkey rest uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425°F and roast the turkey for 40 minutes (this initial blast is to get the heat right into the bird), then lower the oven setting to 325°F and cook for another 3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, check by placing a meat thermometer in the thickest part of a thigh.