Roasted Brined Turkey.

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Roasted Brined Turkey (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens) 

printable recipe 

Makes 8 servings 

Prep: 45 min. / Roast: 2 3/4 Hours / Stand: 20 min. 

Marinate: 8 – 12 hours / Oven: 325 degrees 

Ingredients: 

  • 8-12 lb. fresh or frozen turkey, thawed

Ingredients for Brine: 

  • 10 quart pot
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 45 black peppercorns (about 1 tsp.)
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt*
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 quarts hot water

*If you use table salt instead of kosher salt, reduce to 3/4 cup. 

Directions: 

1) Combine all ingredients in pot for brine until salt is dissolved. Then add 3 quarts ice water, let stand until brine has cooled to at least colder than lukewarm. 

2) Rinse turkey and pat dry; reserve neck and gizzards for Pan Gravy. Submerge turkey in cold brine. Press and weight down turkey with a clean plate or two. Refrigerate 8 to 12 hours. 

3) Heat oven to 325 degrees. Remove turkey from brine, discard brine and drain turkey well. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. 

4) Place turkey, bone side down, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Tuck drumsticks under band of skin across the tail, or tie drumsticks to tail. Twist wing tips under back. Push meat thermometer into center of inside thigh muscle. 

5) Roast turkey, uncovered, for 2 3/4 to 3 hours, or until meat thermometer registers 180 degrees, cutting the band of skin or string holding drumsticks and rotating pan halfway through roasting. If necessary, tent turkey breast with foil during last 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning (covering whole turkey will slow down cooking). 

6) Remove turkey from oven. Let stand, covered, for 20 minutes. Makes 8 servings + leftovers. 

Tips: Turkey is safe to eat when temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, but most people prefer to let it heat until 180 degrees (overly cautious?) Also, use a pan with sides 2 inches or less for even cooking. The higher the sides of the pan, the more it keeps the heat away (and increases cooking time). 

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Directions with Photos: 

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I actually counted out 45 peppercorns. 

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And I actually counted out 5 whole bay leaves. 

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This is what fresh thyme looks like. 

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Salt…or is it sugar? 

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Either way, use both. 

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Combine all ingredients in pot for brine until salt is dissolved. Then add 3 quarts ice water, let stand until brine has cooled to at least colder than lukewarm. 

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Once everything is combined, you can keep the brine in the fridge until you are ready to add the whole turkey in. 

I guess I forgot to take a few pictures in between….but pretend I’m rinsing the  turkey and patting it dry; reserve neck and gizzards for Pan Gravy. Submerge turkey in cold brine. Press and weight down turkey with a clean plate or two. Refrigerate 8 to 12 hours. 

Halfway through the brining process, I flipped my turkey over so the other side could be submerged in brine. If your bowl of brine is overflowing, just pour out some brine. 

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Remove turkey from brine, discard brine and drain turkey well. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.* 

*The turkey skin will brown properly only if it is dry before you put it into the oven. 

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After the skin is patted dry, you can rub butter over it to help in the browning process. This is totally up to you. I did it because if there’s any way to incorporate more butter into a recipe….well, you know, because butter is good. And I stuffed the extra thyme into the cavity. 

Place turkey, bone side down, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Tuck drumsticks under band of skin across the tail, or tie drumsticks to tail. Twist wing tips under back. Push meat thermometer into center of inside thigh muscle.* 

*I didn’t do any of this tucking or twisting or thermometering. But it still came out fantastic. On top of that, you know your oven, you know your roasting pan, and you know how well your turkey will brown or not brown depending on different methods. You don’t? Well….I don’t either. This was the first time I roasted something in this new apartment. It’s also a new roasting pan I used. 

So I’ll shut up about that. 

  

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Roast turkey, uncovered, for 2 3/4 to 3 hours, or until meat thermometer registers 180 degrees, cutting the band of skin or string holding drumsticks and rotating pan halfway through roasting. If necessary, tent turkey breast with foil during last 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning (covering whole turkey will slow down cooking). 

*Don’t open the oven door repeatedly to check on its progress! I know it’s tempting, but you will let the heat escape from the oven causing a longer roasting time. If you are still inclined to do so, check on it after 2 1/2 hours to see if it’s done by that time.  

But not any earlier than that… 

Remove turkey from oven. Let stand, covered, for 20 minutes.* Makes 8 servings + leftovers. 

*Please let it stand for 20 minutes before carving! It helps redistribute the juices so they don’t all flow out and your turkey won’t be dry when you serve it. And remember, the turkey is still cooking AFTER it is out of the oven. The bones are way hotter than the meat, and actually continues to cook the meat. So if it is not up to the preferred temperature when you take it out of the oven, it will still rise a few degrees. 

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Enjoy! :)

8 Thoughts on “Roasted Brined Turkey.

  1. I brined a whole chicken this weekend as a warmup for the Christmas turkey, and it was amazing how good it tasted, so moist! After hearing all the horror stories about dried out chicken/turkey, I was so happy it tasted delicious. Brining is definitely the way to go!

  2. Can I just take the plate in the last photograph? :)

  3. I brined a bone-in turkey breast for the two of us last year and we still had a lot of leftovers. Your turkey looks beautiful!

  4. Your turkey looks perfect. I brined my turkey as well. I even used a combination of the recipe you posted along with that of Wolfgang Puck’s. I brined my turkey last year, and I will forever brine it. It comes out moist and flavorful. Also, you don’t have to cook it as long.

    I love the way you wrote “thermometering” haha. Too cute!

  5. Lauren – It was my first time brining too, and I’m glad I did it. I agree, it keeps the turkey moist no matter what.

    Cynthia – Hehe…don’t I wish that plate just popped out of nowhere without me ever lifting a finger that day.

    Hummingbird – Thanks! I had to make turkey rice porriage(jook) and turkey pot pies to get rid of all the rest.

    Memoria – I also will continue to brine the turkey :) Once you start brining you can’t seem to stop!

  6. I think brining is definitely the way to go! I brined my turkey and was the juiciest turkey I’ve ever tried. The only thing I did different was using veggie stock instead of hot water and I added a few juniper berries to the brine because I never know what to do with them otherwise. I will always brine my turkey from now on!!!

  7. Oh my – you have just convinced me to have a turkey for Christmas! I fixed chicken and sausage etoufée for Thanksgiving, and it was delicious, but now I am REALLY hungry for turkey! I’ve never tried brining. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

  8. I have been searching for this information – Roasted Brined Turkey. | Soup Belly – for months – but it’s all here. I will bookmark this domain and return often. Jilly P

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