Brining a Turkey
Prepare the turkey for roasting
I like to tie the legs together with cooking twine. It’s also a good idea to get the wings tucked in. To do this, I cut a slit in the skin next to the wing and tuck in the wings under the skin (this can be seen in the picture above). This will prevent the ends of the wings getting overcooked or even burning.
What the turkey sits on to cook is also very important, I like to place a roasting rack into a roasting pan. This serves 2 purposes, it allows the heat to distribute all around the turkey for more even cooking and I like to add vegetables and broth to the bottom of the pan so my gravy is made while the turkey cooks. You can read more about making easy, flavorful gravy in my rosemary roasted chicken with delicious gravy recipe.
Making sure your turkey is cooked is the most important part of the job, by inserting a meat thermometer into the turkey between the leg and the wing. It should read 165 degrees F, remember the turkey will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven, so don’t let it read higher than that.
Give the Bird a Rest
The turkey is brined to retain as much moisture in the meat, then roasted to crispy, juicy perfection.
- 1-13 pound fresh turkey cleaned * see note
- 4 cloves of garlic peeled
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves fresh or dry
- 3 sprigs fresh herbs of your choosing
- 1 stick unsalted butter melted
- Salt and pepper
Fill a large stockpot 1/2 full of water. Add the garlic, sugar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves and herbs. Heat over high heat until it comes to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Leave the brine to cool completely.
Fill to 3/4 full of ice water and submerge the turkey completely in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
Preheat oven to 325° degrees F.
Remove the turkey from the brine and dry. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and leave on counter for 1 hour before roasting, this will ensure even and faster cooking.
- Brush the skin of the turkey with the melted butter.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can also sprinkle with any freshly chopped herbs if you like.
Roast the turkey for 3 hours and 25 minutes or until a thermometer inserted reaches 165 degrees F.