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Ken Gauthreaux's Thanksgiving Baked Turkey

"I have tried turkey's cooked many different ways and hands down this is the best one I've ever tasted!" - Crowd Cow Steak Holder, Ken Gauthreaux

Ken Gauthreaux's Thanksgiving Baked Turkey


  • 1 - Cup Sugar
  • 1 - Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 - Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 - Cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 - Cup Zatarain’s Liquid Crab & Shrimp Boil
  • 1 - tbsp Black Pepper, fresh, coarsely crushed
  • 2 - Gallons Cold Water (Distilled)
  • 1 - Quart Water (separated from 2 Gallons above), used to dissolve ingredients above
  • 1 - Celery, bunch
  • +/- 10 – Carrots (whole)
  • 1 - Onion, large
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • 4 to 6 slices Bacon
Prep time
24 hours
Cook time
4 hours


  1. To brine, heat 1 quart of water (from 2 gallons) in sauce pan.
  2. Add all ingredients to water (except remaining 1 3/4 gallons of cold water) and heat until dissolved.
  3. Pour brine mixture into the container you are using to marinate the turkey in. (Suggestion: Firehouse Subs sells empty 5-gallon pickle buckets, they are food grade buckets and the perfect size for a large turkey).
  4. Add the remaining 1 3/4 gallons cold water. Submerge a cleaned turkey into the Brine mixture and marinate for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. To prep your roasting pan, clean carrots and celery and line bottom of roasting pan with them, alternating each to create a bed for the turkey to rest on.
  6. Remove turkey from Brine and rinse (Suggestion: place turkey aside and discard brine mixture, put fresh cold water in the container used to marinate and return the turkey to the container and rinse).
  7. Remove turkey and allow to drain excess water before placing in the roasting pan.
  8. Place turkey in roasting pan on top of the carrots and celery. Brush vegetable/olive oil on skin (to help with browning).
  9. Sparingly sprinkle poultry seasoning on skin and inside chest cavity of turkey.
  10. Place whole peeled onion (with top & bottom cut off) inside the chest cavity.
  11. Place bacon slices across the breast of turkey to help keep the breast from drying out. TIP: place separated bacon slices on plate and place in freezer for 10 to 15 min while preparing turkey (don’t let them freeze), the colder bacon slices slow the turkey breast from overcooking before the rest of the bird.
  12. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  13. Place turkey on center oven rack and bake 15 minutes for each pound of turkey. Cook uncovered for 2/3 of that time.
  14. Remove pan with turkey after the 2/3 cooking time and cover pan with foil (or pan top) and continue baking the remaining 1/3 time. (Suggestion: baste turkey at this time, no other basting is required or recommended unless you plan to add cooking time to compensate for the time the turkey was not in the oven. Every time the oven is opened or the turkey is removed to baste it requires extra time to return to the cooking temperature).
  15. Upon completion of the cooking time or the meat thermometer registers 180 degrees, remove turkey from oven and allow to rest (covered) for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. TIP: I place the pan with turkey (still covered) in an ice cooler (of course no ice) and closed tightly for the 15 to 20 min time to let it rest, do not let it rest longer than 30 min in the cooler.
  16. Carve and enjoy!
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