We all love a good, moist, and flavorful turkey as part of our Thanksgiving dinner. I have shared my favorite turkey brine recipe below with instructions and a recipe for roasting.
8 quarts water
1 1/4 cups sea salt
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup coconut sugar or honey
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp all spice berries
1/2 Tbsp black pepper
1 fresh whole turkey (12 to 16 pounds with neck and giblets removed)
- Place the 8 quarts of water in a large container.
- Measure your all your herbs, spices, salt, and sugar into the water and stir well.
- Place your turkey in a brining bag or a pot large enough to submerge it in the brine. Pour the brine over the bird so it is submerged and seal the bag. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Rinse the bird and pat dry with towels. Leave it at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
This recipe can be adapted for brining a smaller bird such as a whole chicken or even a couple of chicken breasts by decreasing all the ingredients in the brine. If I had a pound of chicken breast, I would use 2.5 cups of water, 1 ounce of sea salt, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp coconut sugar or honey, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, 1/8 tsp thyme, and ¼ tsp all spice berries.
1 brined turkey (12 to 16 pounds), rinsed
3 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and quartered
4 celery stalks, quartered
4 whole garlic cloves
1 whole orange, halved
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1/4 cup ghee or unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Pat the outside and cavity of the turkey dry with paper towels. Arrange it breast-side-up on a roasting rack set inside a roasting pan and allow it to stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
- Remove all but one of the oven racks and position the remaining rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
- Place 1 onion, all of the carrots, and half of the celery inside the cavity of the bird. Squeeze the juice of the orange into the cavity and stuff the orange halves inside the bird. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine.
- Combine the melted ghee and olive oil in a bowl with the rosemary, parsley, and thyme and rub it all over the skin. Scatter the remaining onions, celery, and whole garlic cloves on the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Roast the turkey on the bottom oven rack for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
- Continue roasting until a thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and the juices run clear. For a 12-14 pound bird you will roast it an additional 1.5 to 2 hours. For a 14-16 pound bird you will roast it an additional 2 to 2.5 hours. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for 15 minutes before carving.