Roast Brined Turkey
The turkey is the center piece of my Thanksgiving meals every year. I know some prefer hams or prime rib but for me it isn’t Thanksgiving without a turkey. Before I started deep frying my turkeys this was the standard. It was this recipe that was the base for my Deep Fried Turkey recipe.
The key to this turkey is the brine. There are two different types of brine, wet and dry brine. Dry brine involves creating a spice mixture mostly consisting of salt. A wet brine involves that same spice and salt mixture with water so that instead of removing moisture from the meat (dry brine) you are adding moisture to the meat While you are adding moisture to the meat it is a perfect time to also season the meat. My brine includes orange, allspice, black pepper and other seasonings that greatly improve the flavor of the turkey and better that flavor is in the meat and not just on the skin.
Try my brine on your turkey and you will never go back to a normal turkey again. The flavor and juiciness of this roast brined turkey is absolutely fabulous.
If you need help pulling together your holiday menus, please read my Thanksgiving favorites menu. There is also a guide to taking the stress out of preparing that holiday menu in my How to make Thanksgiving Dinner without breaking a sweat article.
Roast Brined Turkey
- 15 pound fresh turkey
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Black Pepper cracked
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 13 Whole Cloves
- 13 allspice cracked
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 Orange zested and quartered
- 2 tbsp sage ground
- 2 tbsp bay leaves ground
- 2 tsp black pepper ground
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- Make a brine by combining the salt, brown sugar, black pepper, thyme, cloves, allspice, bay leaves, orange quarters, zest and a quart of water. Bring the mixture to boil and turn down to a low simmer for 10 minutes.
- Use a clean cooler and put a thick layer of ice on the bottom (just make sure you have enough space to add the turkey). Take a new trash bag and lay the turkey into the bag breast down while the bag is in the cooler. Pour the cooled brine into the trash bag and then fill the bag with cold water until the turkey is covered. Pull the bag opening up and gather it. The goal is to tie it like a pet store fish bag. Make sure to push out all the air that you can before tying it to make sure the brine stays in contact with the turkey. Close the cooler lid so that the turkey stays cold. Let turkey brine overnight. An hour prior to frying, drain, rinse and pat dry turkey.
- Finely grind bay leaves in spice grinder; transfer to small bowl. Mix sage, ground bay, pepper and salt. This is your rub for your brined turkey.
- Rub 1/3 spice mixture in inside of turkey and the rest on outside of turkey; place in roasting pan. Let turkey come to room temperate. Using a wooden skewer, thread neck flap securely to bottom of turkey. Fold wing tips under.
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.