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Talking Turkey: Westchester Chef Reveals Cooking Secrets For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving turkey.
Thanksgiving turkey. Photo Credit: Gabriel Garcia Marengo/Free Stock Photos

Thanksgiving is one week away -- any idea what recipe you're going to use?

We went to Peter X. Kelly of the Xaviars Restaurant Group which owns and manages Xaviars X2O on the Hudson in Yonkers and Restaurant X and Bully Boy Bar in Congers.

Roast turkey, he said, is one of those meals people look forward to all year. However, very often the results can be less than stellar. His secret? Brining the turkey first -- which pre-seasons the bird, but also allows it to stay juicy while cooking.

You can use any large container; it's preferable, though, to use a large plastic bucket large enough to hold the bird submerged. Leave bird to brine for up to 24 hours.

Feel free, too, to add other aromatics to brine like garlic, thyme or even a vanilla bean to impart additional flavors to the finished bird.

Brined & Roasted Turkey ( Recipe courtesy of Peter X. Kelly, The Xaviars Restaurant Group)


  • 12-14 lbs Murray’s Turkey or any locally raised & fresh killed bird
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 11/2 Cups Sugar
  • 11/2 Cups Kosher Salt
  • 3 oz Dark Soy Sauce
  • 4 Tbsp Black Peppercorns
  • 4 oz Fresh Ginger (Peeled and Sliced ¼ inch Thick)
  • 6 Piece Star Anise
  • 6 Piece Bay Leaf


  • Preheat oven to 550 degrees.
  • In a large pot or plastic container (large enough to submerge whole turkey) combine water, kosher salt, sugar, soy sauce, peppercorns, ginger, star anise and bay leaf.
  • Stir to dissolve sugar and salt.
  • Open turkey and remove giblets from cavity.
  • Submerge turkey in brine and allow turkey to brine overnight in Refrigerator (up to 24 hours)
  • Remove turkey from brine and rinse inside and out under cold running water.
  • Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Secure legs of turkey by tying together with kitchen string.
  • Rub outside of turkey with butter.
  • Place roasting pan with turkey in pre-heated oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  • Lower oven temperature to 375 and continue roasting for two hours basting every 20 minutes.
  • Remove turkey from oven (a quick reed thermometer should read 165 degrees).
  • Allow to rest 30 minutes.
  • Carve and enjoy.

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