1. Buy turkey at least 1 week before Thanksgiving and store in the freezer.

  2. Move from freezer to fridge for the duration of the defrosting period, which is 1 day per 4 lbs of turkey plus an extra day (ex. a 17 lb bird calls for 4.6 + 1 = 5.6 days). Do not let a defrosted turkey remain in the fridge for longer than 4 days.



  • 5 gallon paint bucket with lid
  • parchment paper
  • cold water (2 gallons)
  • ice (0.5 gallon)
  • salt, kosher (4 cups)
  • brown sugar (2 cups)
  • peppercorns (0.5 cup)
  • shallots, roughly chopped (4)
  • lemons (2)
  • celery, roughly diced (1 cup)
  • bay leaves (5-6)


  1. Add 2 gallons of water to a stock pot and put the heat on high.

  2. Add all the salt and all the brown sugar sugar. Stir the mixture until dissolved.

  3. Use a peeler to remove the yellow from the lemons. Add peels to the mixture.

  4. Add all the peppercorns, shallots, celery, and bay leaves. Let the mixture come up to a simmer.

  5. Turn off the heat. Dump the mixture into the 5 gallon bucket and add all the ice.

  6. Leave the bucket in the fridge until the brine cools down.

  7. Unwrap the thawed turkey and lower into the bucket. Top it off with cold water until the level reaches 2 inches from the top. Cover the top of the bird with parchment paper, allowing it to moisten and create a seal flush with the brine.

  8. Cover the bucket with a lid. Leave in the fridge for 24 hours.



  • herb butter (4 sticks)
  • salt and pepper, mixed (excess)


  1. Remove the turkey from the brine. Rinse off in cold water.

  2. Remove the neck from the cavity. It should feel like a long piece of meat detached and sitting freely in the cavity. Rinse in cold water, dry, and set aside wrapped in the fridge.

  3. Find the bag of organs. It should be near the neck area. Discard the heart and the kidneys. Gently rinse the dark colored liver (should be 4 total lobes). Cut away any scraggly white tissue. Pat dry and place in the fridge in a sealed container.

  4. Use a knife to remove the tailbone and discard.

  5. Use a knife to cut around the wishbone.