Brined Roast Turkey

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My brother in law TJ introduced me to this fabulous recipe  probably 8-9 years ago when we were in Arizona for Thanksgiving.  I had never had a brined turkey before and I could not believe the difference it made!  It was the most flavorful and moist turkey I had ever eaten!  Yesterday for Sunday dinner  I used the same method for a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey and it turned out as wonderful as ever.  This is my favorite way to prepare turkey.  Next time I make it I will get some better pictures, but believe me…it really is delicious!

Brined Roast Turkey
submitted by Melanie~The Sisters Cafe

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
**or a 7-8 pound turkey breast  (just half the brine)

For the brine
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon chicken or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water

 Canola oil

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

The night before you’d like to servethe turkey:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.  Dry it really well–this is an important step to a good roasted turkey!

Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes(about 15 minutes for a breast). 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.

Recipe Source: My brother in law TJ based off an Alton Brown Recipe


  1. Brittany says

    that sounds really good. Next time I do the turkey I will definitely try it out. The ginger and allspice sound really unique and good in the brine!

  2. Melissa says

    This really is an amazing recipe. It’s one of our 2 favorite Thanksgiving turkey recipes. This our favorite if we have a little extra time, because if you do…it’s worth it!

    • Melanie says

      Hi MJ,
      The first few years I made this I could never find it–so I used a dash of ground ginger or a clove of garlic. It wasn’t the same but it worked:) I finally found it really quite cheap at a specialty store in my area. I think lots of grocery stores carry it during the holidaysl Good luck!

  3. Thornock fam says

    Okay, so I love brine turkeys, but here’s my question – how do I make gravy this way? I tried it last year and the leftovers were so salty I had to use bottled gravy. I felt like a huge cheater. Any suggestions?

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