Moister than moist roast turkey

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Serves: 8



  • 800g salt

  • 200g unsalted butter at room temperature

  • 50ml dry white wine

  • 15g rosemary

  • 15g thyme

  • 3 leeks sliced

  • 3 onions sliced

  • 2 carrot sliced

  • 4-4.5kg free range turkey


  1. Chop the wing tips off the turkey and reserve for the gravy.
  2. Brine the turkey on Christmas Eve by mixing the salt and 10 litres of water in a clean ­container and stirring until the salt has dissolved. ­Submerge the turkey in the brine, cover with a lid or foil and leave in a cool place for at least nine hours or overnight. Remove the bird from the brine and submerge it in cold water for one hour, changing the water at 15-minute intervals. Dry the turkey well with kitchen paper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 210C/200C fan/Gas Mark 6. With clean hands, work the skin away from the flesh of the bird and rub 100g of butter between the skin and the flesh, being careful not to tear the skin. Rub any remaining butter over the skin of the bird. Season with salt and black pepper. Set the bird on top of the onions, carrots and leeks in a roasting tin; add the wine and cook in the oven for 30 minutes to colour the skin.
  4. Melt the remaining 100g butter in a pan and add the rosemary and thyme.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 130C/120C fan/Gas Mark 0.5. Baste the turkey with the herb butter and cook until the thickest part around the neck or thigh reaches 70C (you’ll need a probe thermometer). Continue basting every 45 minutes (when the butter gets used up, use the cooking juices in the roasting tin to baste). This should take 3-3.5 hours, depending on the size of the turkey and the type of oven. It is important to check that the turkey is cooked by cutting into the thickest part (between the breast and thigh) to be sure that none of the meat is pink, and the juices run clear.
  6. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. Reserve the pan juices and vegetables for ­making the gravy.

Handy Hint

I also put a couple of onions, 1/2 large lemon and some rosemary and thyme sprigs in the cavity.

Additional Information

  • turkey

  • Christmas

  • Main Course

  • Gluten Free

  • Nut Free

  • Egg Free

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Your comments

  • MummysLittleSunbeams 19/12/13 18:02

    What kind of container do you use that will hold 10 litres of water???

  • Bohica 29/09/11 21:58

    Thank you, I'm going to try this recipe. I now need to know how to make the gravy!

  • RockStockAndTwoOpenBottles 26/09/11 22:46

    I tried this Heston way last year and it produced the most delicious, moist and succulent turkey I have ever cooked. I cook my stuffing and sausage meat (I do little bite sized balls) separately.