- 5 kilograms whole turkey, thawed if frozen
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup table salt
- 4 litres cold water
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 8 sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
The key to a juicy, succulent turkey is to use a meat thermometer to ensure it is perfectly cooked. Brining your turkey not only improves the flavour of the meat, but it also prevents the meat from drying out.
- About 24 to 48 hours before cooking the turkey, in a jug, combine the boiling water and the table salt, stir until mostly dissolved.
- In a large container or bucket (large enough to sit the turkey in). Pour in the salt solution, add the cold water and stir. Remove the neck, giblets and large clumps of fat from the turkey cavity, reserve for another use (i.e. gravy). Submerge the turkey into the water, breast side down. If needed, place a heavy weight on top to keep the turkey submerged. Refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. Alternatively, the turkey and brine can be condensed into a large, food-grade, heavy duty plastic bag, sitting in a container.
- On the day of cooking, prepare the herb rub. Finely chop the garlic, rosemary leaves, thyme leaves, sage leaves and mix with the salt, pepper and oil to form a paste. Reserve any of the herb stalks.
- Prepare the barbecue for roasting over indirect medium heat (190°C to 210°C). If using a Kettle or Summit Charcoal, be sure to place a drip pan between the fires to collect the drippings.
- Remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry with paper towel. Fold the wings behind the back. Rub the herb paste all over the turkey and inside the cavity. Add the herb stalks to the cavity (if desired). Tie the legs of the turkey together with butcher’s twine.
- Roast the turkey over indirect medium heat for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 71°C in the thickest part of the thigh or deep into the breast, without touching the cavity. See below for a timing guide and size guide. The final doneness temperature for poultry is 74°C, the temperature will continue to rise 3 to 6°C while it’s resting.
- Once the turkey has cooked, remove from the barbecue and cover with aluminium foil. Leave to rest for 30 minutes before carving.