Apple Sage Roasted Turkey

1 16-18 lb. turkey, preferably organic


16 cups cold water , or more to cover turkey

8 cups chicken stock

1 cup fine sea salt

1 cup fine sugar

2 apples , quartered

3 sprigs fresh thyme

3 springs fresh sage

2 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 bouquet garni

2 onions , peeled and quartered

To roast turkey

1 bunch fresh sage leaves

1 bunch fresh  thyme

1 apple quartered

2 tablespoons fine grey sea salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

To baste

8 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature

¼ cup honey


Prepare brine by combining water, sea salt, sugar, bay leaves, 3 garlic cloves, thyme and peppercorns. Cut 2 apples into wedges, add to the brine and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Clean turkey with cold water removing any giblets and or neck. Keep giblets and neck in the refrigerator to use later for gravy base.  Place turkey and brine into a resealable plastic bag or into a large non reactive bowl covered with plastic wrap. The turkey should be covered with the brine, if not add more water. Refrigerate over night.  The next day remove turkey 40 minutes before planning to place into the oven. Preheat oven to 425F. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels inside and out. . Season the turkey cavity with salt and pepper.  Add an apple in quarters into the cavity along with thyme and sage. Tie turkey legs together and place into roasting pan. In a small sauce pan melt butter and honey together on a low heat. Use this to baste turkey once before placing into the oven. Roast the turkey at 425F for 30 minutes then lower the oven to 350F.   For an 18lb turkey cooking time will be approximately 3 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check that the meat registers 175F at its thickest part of the thigh. Baste the turkey about every 30 minutes with the butter and honey mixture. If the turkey browns too quickly tent that part with aluminum foil. When ready remove from the oven. Take turkey from the roasting pan and place on a cutting board to rest before carving, at least 20 minutes. If you are serving later then 20 minutes from removing from oven tent turkey with aluminum foil until ready to serve.

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It’s time to start planning the Thanksgiving menu and of course the turkey is the centerpiece. I like to experiment each year with flavors and this is a perfect combination of autumnal tastes with apple and sage. I like to brine the turkey overnight , resulting in a juicy roast turkey. I like to paste my turkeys with butter and something sweet, in this case honey which makes the turkey skin crispy and lacquered in appearance. Let the Thanksgiving planning begin with this delicious turkey as your star!

From by the bay, wishing you very sage turkey food memories!


entertaining by the bay

casual cooking and living