Alton Brown’s Perfect Turkey

Alton Brown cooks the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. Our Good Eats guru shows us how to make the piece de resistance of your Thanksgiving meal—the turkey.

Alton Brown teaches us a simple technique that will make sure your bird is roasted to golden-brown delicious perfection.


It’s your turn to host Thanksgiving for the family, and that means you’re in charge of the turkey. The bird is a big task to take on, but it doesn’t have to a difficult one.

Alton Brown shows us some simple techniques to ensure that you have a moist, perfectly cooked turkey. But be warned, after this bird, you might be in charge of the turkey every Thanksgiving!

First, Alton Brown recommends that you brine the turkey the night before you’d like to eat. This means that you’ll have to defrost your turkey in the refrigerator 2 days prior to this (or start with an already-thawed bird and skip this step).

Brining the turkey will make sure your turkey is moist throughout the cooking process. How? Well, through the property of osmosis, brines are able to infuse seasoning and moisture into the (previously bland) cells of your turkey. For Alton Brown’s brining recipe and technique, watch this video.

Once you’ve got your lovely brined turkey rinsed off and ready to cook, fire up your oven to 500 degrees. Then prep the roasting pan, aluminum foil “breast plate” and truss your turkey, if you’re into that kind of stuff.

You’ll initially cook the turkey for 30 minutes at 500 degrees to seal in all the juices, fat, and get a nice brown on the skin. After that, simply wait until your meat thermometer hits and internal temperature of 161 degrees. Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest, covered.

While you’re resting your meat, go ahead and make the gravy. Don’t throw out those delicious drippings because they make the best base. Follow Alton’s turkey gravy recipe for the perfect accompaniment.

Now that’s all done, what are you waiting for? It’s time to give thanks and chow down!

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