A Roasted Turkey Seasoned In A Brine on a platter.

Brined And Roasted Turkey

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A Brined And Roasted Turkey is a simple way to season and marinate meat, getting the juiciest and tastiest results. You only need a turkey, some seasoning, a little time, and a large enough container to hold your turkey.

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know

With so many ways to prepare turkey these days, I seem to have developed a certain curiosity. I find myself, too often, asking others how they plan to cook their holiday bird this Thanksgiving. In some way, I feel I’m infringing on their privacy, especially when they pause before repeating the question.

What I’m really doing is trying to find out if someone I know has successfully used a brine to season their turkey. I haven’t found anyone yet. Perhaps I haven’t asked enough. So I thought it would be fun to explore this way of preparing a turkey and share with you my own findings.

It started in the summer when my husband asked if I could make pork chops and rice in the Instant Pot. I found this recipe, Pressure Cooker Brined Pork Chops, And Brown Rice and discovered how easy it is to brine with excellent results. I have tried cooking chops the same way without brine and did not get the same results.

Even though it takes a little pre-planning, I believe it’s worth the extra effort to prepare meat this Brined and Roasted Turkey way.

What Is Brining?

Brining has been around for ages. It’s a process for seasoning or preserving food using a mixture of salt and water. Meats can be soaked for marination, and fruits or vegetables can be pickled in this brew. There are many brine formulas, but they all begin with the basic ingredients of salt and water or other liquids, like milk or buttermilk.

A brine of herbs and seasonings in water in a pot.

Often, a simple brine takes away that “gamey taste” in meat such as venison. You may have done this before, or perhaps you have soaked a chicken in buttermilk before frying. That’s considered a brine, also. Some even give their seafood, such as shrimp, a soak in a similar solution before frying.

How To Brine A Turkey

We start with boiled water to melt a generous amount of salt. Then brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic, rosemary, and thyme are stirred into the hot solution, combining all the tastes. The brown sugar adds just a touch of sweetness and compliments the other flavors.

Don’t let the large amount of salt and sugar in the brine hold you back. It’s amazing how these flavors come together, penetrate the meat, and produce a flavorful bird. It’s tender, moist, and oh-so-special!

To cool the hot solution, ice and cold water are added, enough to cover the turkey while it sits in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.

A turkey in a large container with a pitcher of Brine mixture poured over it.

The tricky part may be finding a large enough container to cover the whole bird with the seasoned solution. But you can easily use a plastic bag for roasting turkeys. This works perfectly, but be sure and place it in a large pan in case of any leaks. It can save you from a refrigerator cleaning.

Brining meat in a bag.
How To Roast Turkey

After the turkey has marinated in the refrigerator, remove it and discard the brining solution. Then give the turkey a good rinse with tap water. Next, dry it off, inside and out, with paper towels. Then set it on a platter in the refrigerator to dry out some more. Drying the turkey helps the skin to brown well during baking.

Now it’s time to stuff the turkey with apples, onions, celery, and carrots, adding more stuffing around the pan for a rich gravy. Then slather the bird with softened butter. Your hands are the best tools for this job.

A brined turkey covered with butter, and ready for roasting.

After preparing the turkey, I like to cook it in an electric roaster for the best results. The roaster is preheated on its highest setting for 30 minutes and then lowered to 325 degrees. I place the meat on a wire rack inside the roaster. No extra water is necessary, so closing the lid is the last thing to do.

Oster Turkey Roaster sitting on a kitchen countertop.

That’s it! Close it and forget about it until the aroma of roasted turkey reminds you that it’s cooking to perfection. After an hour to an hour and a half, I check to see if it’s cooked, then let it brown for another 30 minutes. Basting isn’t necessary.

That roaster hasn’t failed me yet, and it frees the oven for cooking the sides for the rest of our Thanksgiving meal. If you don’t have an electric roaster, you can bake it in an oven according to the directions below.

Lift the brined and roasted turkey out of the pan, and drain the juices into a saucepan. Add a slurry of 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water to the gravy and cook until it thickens for the best gravy.

More Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
Need More?

Click on over to 40 Best Holiday Recipes for a collection of dishes that will go well with a brined and roasted turkey meal.

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A Roasted Turkey Seasoned In A Brine on a platter.

Brined And Roasted Turkey

Soaking a turkey for hours in a brine mixture of water, seasonings, and herbs brings excellent results. It may take a little pre-planning, but it’s simple in order to get tender, juicy, flavorful meat.

  • Total Time: 18 minute
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
 

1 TURKEY (10 TO 12 POUNDS), rinsed, and giblets removed

Brine

  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, not packed
  • 2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 12 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 cups ice 
  • 89 cups cold water

To Roast

  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 stick butter, softened

Instructions

Place the turkey in a large plastic bag or container that will submerge the whole turkey in the brine solution.

Making Brine And Soaking Turkey

  1. Add salt to boiled water and stir until all of the salt is dissolved.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic cloves, rosemary, and thyme.
  3. Add ice to cool down the solution and stir until the ice melts.
  4. Add cold water to the solution to make 1 gallon of brine.
  5. Pour brine over the turkey, ensuring the liquid covers the whole bird.
  6. Close the bag or container and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 24 – 48 hours.
  7. Remove the turkey from the brine, discard the brine, and rinse the turkey well.
  8. Place in a strainer to drain and pat dry inside and out using paper towels.

Move the bird to a pan and place it in the refrigerator to allow for more drying before cooking; this causes the skin to brown well. 

Roasting Turkey

  1. Preheat oven to 450°, reducing the temperature to 350° before you add the bird.
  2. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and stuff it with a cut apple, onion, celery sticks, and carrots.
  3. Tie the legs together to hold the stuffing and cover the turkey’s skin with the softened butter.
  4. Place the prepared turkey in the oven and roast for 13 minutes per pound.
  5. Cover the cooked turkey loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 30 – 45 minutes before carving.

Notes

  • I place my bird in a large plastic Tupperware container with a secure top and use a small pot lid to weigh it down in the liquid. The container’s plastic top holds the cover in place when securely closed.
  • A large pot can soak the bird instead of a plastic container.
  • When using a large plastic bag to brine, secure it with a wire tie, even if the bag has a ziplock top, to help keep the bird submerged in the brine.
  • An electric roaster cooks a perfect turkey and saves oven space for side dishes.
  • Allowing the turkey to rest causes the juices to reabsorb into the meat, so when it’s carved, the meat stays moist.
  • Increase the brine recipe when using a larger bird.
  • You may baste the bird when cooking in the oven, but it’s unnecessary when using the electric roaster.
  • Author: Louisiana Woman
  • Prep Time: 24 to 48 hours
  • Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: roasted turkey, roasted seasoned turkey in a brine, roasted turkey, brining, turkey in a brine, brined roasted turkey

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Have a nice day!


Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

George Washington

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