Submit Recipes

Roast Turkey

Categories: Chicken/PoultryHoliday
Contributed by: Kelly CA additional suggestions/comments by others below

I am FULLY drooling for turkey now!!!!!
If you brine your bird it won't be dry...it will be succulent beyond measure and absolutely TURKEY-LISCIOUS!!!!
Here is the way we do brining around these parts. This is copied from my files from last year:

Well, I first put the turkey in a doubled-plastic bag and put the brine in.
I then put it in a cooler and put ice packs all around it. Theoretically, it
would have stayed cold enough till the next day but I got paranoid about
that and ended up putting it and the brine in a giant pot and put it in the
fridge. Getting food poisoning and causing 25 other people to get it wasn't
on my list of good ideas so I went cautious.

Soaked the bird for 24 hours or so. Took it out, dried it off, Made a
mixture of butter, pepper, thyme, garlic powder( I didn't add salt because
the brine was already salty) and rubbed it all over the bird(this is why you
DRY the bird...otherwise the butter won't stick). Put it in a 350 oven
breast-side down for two hours and then flipped it and cooked it till the
thigh registered 180 and the breast was 160. You should let the turkey rest
at least 20 minutes before you carve. The temp will raise a little during
the resting period. The resting period also lets the juices settle.


1/2 c. kosher(coarse salt) salt and 1/2 c brown sugar per gallon of water
add two oranges, cut in half and juiced squeezed into the water
Few sprigs of fresh thyme
few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/2 c maple syrup

When turkey is brined for 24 hours, Take out of brine, dry, coat with butter
mixture(from above note) stuff cavity with a couple of cut-up oranges, two
cut-up onions, a carrot, a stalk of celery, two sprigs of rosemary.
I cooked the stuffing in a casserole dish..not in the bird, to ease the
turning process. It was YUMMY!
Also the oranges in the brine and in the bird made the gravy just a tad bit
fruity which was GREAT!

Additional brining and/or roasting turkey comments to follow, including some recipes:

Robin's Nest wrote:
 "You know, as someone who has only brined their turkey for a couple of years now, it's really and truly not much extra work at all. It sounds like it would be, but it's really not. As long as you make sure ahead of time that you have a container big enough and room in the frig - you're 90% there. We use a big canning kettle with a lid and it works for as big as a 25-30# turkey.

The other thing I like about it - and not to gross anyone out at breakfastime here - is that soaking it in the brine overnight pulls out all the blood and stuff - you pour all that stuff down the sink with the brine when you're done and....well...the turkey just seems so clean and fresh - almost virginal lol!!!!

Makes you feel very Martha Stewartee or Emerilee or whateveree too!"

Robin's Nest also wrote elsewhere:
Another BRINER here!!!! I think it was a mutual friend of mine and Kelly's that got me started brining the bird and then Kelly filled in some of the missing pieces for us....it is definitely the way to go!!!

Not only does it make the turkey much more moist and flavorful, but you end up with the yummiest gravy in the world too - just tons and tons of juice to start your gravy with. My husband's favorite part of the dinner is the mashed potatoes and gravy and he now insists we brine our turkey just for the great gravy it makes...

Kris in NJ said:
"Don't know if anyone's ever watched an episode of Good Eats but it's kinda cool in that the host discusses "scientific" aspects of cooking.

The whole premise behind brining a turkey and why it actually turns out so juicy is REVERSE OSMOSIS. Normally, you think of salt as a drying agent but when you leave the turkey in the brine for the 6 hour minimum (longer is fine, too), the reverse osmosis process INFUSES moisture into the meat. Also, using vegetable stock in the brine gives amazing flavor"

HLLB wrote:
My sister made a brined turkey last year for Thanksgiving and it was amazing! I don't really like turkey but this one was so juicy it was basically dripping!

David & Meena's Mom had good questions re. brining:

"I really want to do this brine thing with my turkey-- I just had a few more questions.
My husband works with a surgeon who is also a chef(showoff~~ -he has his own cooking show on our local PBS station) He said he LOVES to brine, but his wife HATES it. She says its too salty. In all of the comments on the brine post, I don't remember anyone saying that...
Is that a possibility?
Also, I think I will do the cooler thing, and keep it in my garage- but what temp do you think my garage should be? Does the whole bird need to be submerged?
And while we are on the turkey- do you guys cook yours upside down? Ive done that in the past and was pleased with the taste/tenderness. But honestly, Im not that hard to please- I'll eat anything."

In response to above question about salty factor of brining:

N/A wrote:
Cut the salt mixture in half if you're on a low sodium preference. I think the brown sugar and kosher salt ratio is equal but you can simply halve the salt for your palate.

Kelly CA makes important point:
Also...if your turkey is "pre-basted", it already has salt in it. If so, cut the salt in your brine down. This could be why the gal thought it was too salty. 

doesn't brine, but her method is here:

I love cooking, but I take a lot of shortcuts on Thanksgiving just because there's so much to do! I grease up the turkey inside and out with butter, salt, pepper, and sage, toss onion and celery inside, and cook it upside down for the majority of the cooking time. I flip it breast side up for the last 30 minutes to brown it. (The key is a lot of paper towels.) This makes the breast meat incredibly moist. I've tried brining, and this is easier and is just as juicy.