We brined our turkey for 24 hours, so leave plenty of time. If you don't want to brine yours, skip steps 1 and 2. If you don't have a stockpot large enough to hold the turkey and brine, use a clean, extra-large cooler.



For the Brine
For the Turkey


Instructions Checklist
  • Make the brine: Put ingredients into a large, wide stockpot. Add 4 quarts plus 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool completely.

  • Submerge turkey, breast side down, in brine. Cover; refrigerate 24 hours, turning turkey once. Remove turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours. Discard brine.

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Stir 12 tablespoons melted butter and the wine in a medium bowl. Fold a very large piece of cheesecloth into quarters so that it is large enough to cover breast and halfway down sides of turkey. Immerse cloth in butter mixture.

  • Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Fold wing tips under. Season inside turkey with salt and pepper. Loosely fill body and neck cavities with stuffing (about 5 cups in the body and about 1 cup in the neck). Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Fold neck flap under; secure with toothpicks. Rub turkey all over with 1/4 cup softened butter; season with salt and pepper.

  • Remove cheesecloth from butter mixture, squeezing gently into bowl; reserve butter mixture for brushing. Lay cheesecloth over turkey. Place turkey, legs first, into oven. Roast 30 minutes. Brush cheesecloth and exposed turkey with butter mixture. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Roast, brushing with butter mixture every 30 minutes and rotating once, 2 1/2 hours; tent with foil if browning too quickly. Pour 1/2 cup water into pan if juices are very dark brown.

  • Discard cheesecloth; rotate pan. Baste turkey with pan juices. Roast, rotating pan halfway through, until skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees (stuffing should also register 165 degrees), 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and the quince syrup in a bowl; brush over turkey during last 10 minutes in oven. Transfer to a platter. Set pan drippings aside for gravy. Let turkey stand at room temperature 30 minutes, tented with foil, before carving. Garnish with quinces and thyme.

Reviews (8)

13 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: Unrated
Love this recipe. I've been making it for the last 4 years. It's very easy and always comes out really good.
Rating: Unrated
This turkey hit the jackpot twice! Stellar! If you follow the recipe to the letter, you will be rewarded with an AMAZING meal. katie2000, I just used cheesecloth on top as directed. I think the rule of thumb is, you don't need to cover the turkey unless it's getting overly browned.
Rating: Unrated
does it matter that the whole turkey is not sitting in the brine.. I dont have a large enough pot
Rating: Unrated
Does anyone know if I have to use a turkey pan lid to cover the turkey while in the oven or only the cheesecloth on top would be enough? Thanks a lot.
Rating: Unrated
I used this brine for Thanksgiving. I'm glad I listened to my stepdad and mom; they had used it before and said to use no more than 1 cup of the salt...it was PLENTY salty! I started out with just HALF the amount of salt and it was way too much even after I'd filled my stockpot completely full of water (I ended up dumping it and starting over with only 1 cup of salt and 1 1/2 cups of sugar). It turned out beautifully.
Rating: Unrated
Excellent recipe. Quinces gave such a delightful aroma to the bird!
Rating: Unrated
I had made this exact recipe with one exception including the brine this year in October (Canada). It was difficult for me to fine a quince in the first and second week of Oct, so I opted by using pears.It was my first time using a brine, and I can say I will continue to brine in the future.
Rating: Unrated
I made this for Thanksgiving last year, and I am making it again this year. It was such a success. It came out, not only delicious, but it was beautiful as well. It was a huge hit with everyone in my family, inclucing my 80 year old Grandpa, who said it was the best he had ever eaten. My Grandma shot him a dirty look! Thanks Martha!