In Alton Brown's Career, One Recipe Stands Above The Rest

Alton Brown has given his fans and social media followers plenty of recipes to salivate over during the course of his nearly two decade cooking career, but the host of "Cutthroat Kitchen" has one recipe that stands out from the rest: Good Eats Roast Turkey

Per a 2011 Facebook post, the Food Network deems this recipe its most popular. And with tons of gushing comments, it's hard to deny the fact that this roast turkey recipe is nirvana for your taste buds. With ingredients like allspice berries and candied ginger included in the brine, this recipe makes for one of the tastiest roast birds you've ever tried.

If you're unfamiliar, Brown's Good Eats Roast Turkey is a much-discussed recipe in the Reddit cooking community and has been shared countless times on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. According to Southern Living, the beauty of Brown's recipe can largely be attributed to how the dark and white meats are perfectly cooked together without losing the succulence of either. However, as Epicurious explains, this turkey recipe requires 12 hours of brining, followed by 30 minutes of roasting and about 2.5 hours of cooking. So, is this dinner worth the patience, effort, and time it takes to prepare? 

This is the turkey recipe to try

The answer seems to be a unanimous "yes" from both the pros and the novices, as Southern Living reports more than 5,800 positive reviews on this roast turkey recipe. One fan of this recipe commented on the Food Network site, and we think it may sum up the reviews, stating that "This has been my go-to recipe for THE BEST Turkey EVER. I've used this recipe since I first saw it on Good Eats with Alton Brown over a decade ago." 

Another concurred with this sentiment, writing, "I've been using this recipe every year for the past 7 years after it became my turn to make Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for the family. This recipe is FOOLPROOF!" These rave reviews are just a glimpse of the 6,174 five-star others posted on the Food Network.

One tweet sums up the sentiment about this popular recipe: "Good Eats Roast Turkey: Alton Brown will never steer you wrong." If you're cooking a turkey roast for the holidays (or as a dinner for any day of the year), this recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. 

Basting vs. brining

We know what you might be thinking: Why brine a turkey when you can baste it? After all, basting the turkey would save you those 12 hours that Alton Brown's recipe requires. But take note, all you basters out there: Brown is not a fan of this method of trying to add moisture and brown the skin. In fact, according to Cooking Channel TV, Brown urges you to put down your melted butter and brush — he says basting does "nothing" for your turkey. The chef also contends that "repeatedly" opening the oven door to paint your bird with butter will hinder your turkey from cooking. 

Brown goes on further to explain that brining is the key to getting that flavor and moisture you want in your turkey. The process relies heavily on osmosis, which is what traps the salt, seasoning, and water in the meat. 

Additionally, when brining your turkey, Brown says that because the breast is the part of the bird that will dry out first, you want to put it "down into the brine first." And flip it over once so the entirety of the turkey is able to soak-up all that salty, sugary, herby goodness.

Try a dry brine

Of course, if wet brining makes Alton Brown's Good Eats Roast Turkey a nonstarter, you could try this roast turkey recipe with a twist. Kate Shungu, the food blogger behind Gift of Hospitality, told Mashed that you can reach the same level of flavor and juiciness Brown is able to achieve with his recipe if you change up the recipe and use a dry brine. 

Shungu says this method is "less [messy] and easier to do in the refrigerator." The dry brine still utilizes sugar and salt, along with an array of spices to achieve the flavor and requires 24 to 48 hours for all those ingredients to penetrate the skin and add their goodness to your bird. That is to say, even if you use a dry rub, you are still going to have to plan ahead. 

The recipe has a 4.9 out of 5 rating, so we're assuming the end result is quite tasty. But the only way to know for sure is to try it!