You can brine a 14-pound turkey overnight in the refrigerator in a large lobster pot. Or, if you’re cooking a very large bird, get it ready outdoors in a large, clean picnic cooler filled with brine and a few bags of ice to keep the temperature cold. (You’ll need to double the brine recipe for this.) Secure the lid with heavy weights or a bungee cord, then let the cooler sit outside overnight. The high concentration of salt and sugar in the solution will keep it from freezing.
Remove giblets and neck from the bird and reserve for Giblet Gravy.
The evening before you roast the turkey, mix salt, sugar, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, and sage with 2-½ gallons cold water in your container. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve.
Drop turkey into brine, breast side down, and move it around a bit to expel air from cavity.
Place container in your refrigerator (or outside, remembering to add ice and secure the lid). Let turkey brine 12 hours.
Remove bird from brine; drain well, and pat dry. Discard brine.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Set turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set into a large roasting pan. Fill cavity with onion, celery, and carrots.
Tie legs together with butcher’s twine. Tent turkey breast with foil.
Roast 30 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350°F and roast 1-½ hours. Remove foil and roast 30 minutes longer.
Begin checking internal temperature at thigh and cook until thermometer reads 165°F (usually about 10–20 minutes longer). Remove from oven and tent with foil. Let rest 20 minutes before carving.
While turkey is resting, remove rack from roasting pan and set on two burners over medium heat. The browned bits and juices on the bottom of the pan should begin to sizzle.
Add broth and stir everything together with a wooden spoon, lifting those browned bits from the bottom.
Strain mixture into a measuring cup; let sit 10 minutes while fat rises to the top.
Drain or spoon off most of the fat; then make Giblet Gravy. Serve turkey with gravy and side dishes.
In a medium-size saucepan, combine giblets, stock, pan juices, and vegetables. Bring to a boil; then lower to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Strain and discard solids.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and 4 tablespoons hot broth. Then slowly whisk mixture back into main portion of hot broth and cook about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Yield: 4 cups