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Best Brined Turkey Recipes

Best Brined Turkey Recipes

Top Rated Brined Turkey Recipes

Why brine? To guarantee a juicy, melt-in-your-mouth holiday turkey every year. Mix up this easy, five-ingredient brine and let your bird soak up all of the flavor and moisture for 12 to 24 hours. Then, rinse the turkey, season with a savory blend of McCormick® rosemary, thyme and paprika – and roast. Serve on a large platter and watch as guests dig into this memorable main.Recipe courtesy of McCormick

This turkey made its way into chef Craig Deihl’s recipe collection by way of a staff meal at his Charleston restaurant Cypress. He explains that while many people don’t do it on Thanksgiving, the brine is the single most important part of getting a perfectly moist turkey, and adds, "The brine makes the difference between a good turkey and a great one." After trying his recipe, we believe him.Click here to see A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving.For Turkey 35 Ways Gallery, click here.

Best Turkey Breast Brine

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Spice up your Thanksgiving spread this year with my Best Turkey Breast Brine. This brine is easy to put together, highlights citrus and smoky bourbon, and makes a huge difference in the tenderness and juiciness of your turkey. Read on in for complete directions on how to roast your turkey breast, too.

Today I introduce to you my favorite dish in the Thanksgiving line-up: succulent roast turkey.

A dish that often is overshadowed by mashed potatoes or stuffing, but makes any Thanksgiving complete. The centerpiece that is beautiful, but unfortunately can be easily looked oer when it is dried out and tasteless.

But today I not only share with you my favorite dish, but also how to make this roast turkey juicy and tender every time.

I guess you could say I'm on a mission. Or that I'm even a turkey evangelist.

Because not all turkeys are created equally dry! There are ways to make your turkey -- even white meat turkey breast -- tender and moist.

And here is where I introduce to you my favorite easy turkey brine. Seemingly simple and maybe even a bit perplexing at first -- after all, how really does a salt solution revolutionize turkey so profoundly?

I could go back to my high school biology days and try to remember an explanation (#nerdalert), but I'll save you the boring stuff. What matters is that turkey breast brine infuses our classic Thanksgiving poultry with flavor, notes of citrus and smoke, and -- most importantly -- moisture and tenderness.

Also, though you do need to plan a day ahead to get the turkey brining, this turkey brine recipe doesn't require a whole lot from you the day of the celebration.

And that, too, is a reason to celebrate. After all, let's leave you time to focus on those mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Because even if the turkey ends up being the star of the show, every star needs a supporting cast, right?

Happy Thanksgiving friends, from my kitchen to yours'!

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This roast turkey breast recipe is.

  • Tender
  • Juicy
  • Succulent
  • Flavorful
  • Citrusy
  • Smokey
  • Herbal
  • Roasts in less than 2 hours
  • Easy to follow
  • Versatile
  • Popular with almost any dinner party crew

Treat your thanksgiving dinner guests to a juicy turkey breast they'll never forget. Add this recipe to your menu today!

Here at Mae's Menu, we have a variety of readers: those who are more experienced in the kitchen and want to zip straight through to the recipe and those who want to learn more about the dish, potential substitutions, and more.

To skip straight to the recipe, just click "Jump to Recipe" at the top left of this post. To browse the post quickly, just click the headings in the table of contents below.

Table of contents

Easy turkey brine ingredients:

  • Kosher salt - creates a salty solution. See my notes below on my preferred brand of kosher salt!
  • Brown sugar -- a bit of sweetness balances the flavor of the turkey
  • Orange zest -- use a veggie peeler to skim off the top layer of zest
  • Fresh thyme sprigs -- infuses the broth with herbal notes
  • Whole cloves -- go for whole cloves instead of ground cloves
  • Liquid smoke
  • Black peppercorns -- whole peppercorns are what we're looking for
  • Orange juice
  • Bourbon -- we boil off the alcohol (see below), leaving the smokey and oaky flavor in the brine
  • Split turkey breast -- this recipe is formatted for a split breast with bone and skin, but you can make a full breast (see my notes below)

Roast turkey ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter - we need just a tablespoon of butter to spread underneath the skin
  • Salt + cracked black pepper
  • Orange
  • Onion
  • Thyme sprigs

Ingredient substitutions

  • Sugar -- dark brown sugar or pure cane sugar also work in this recipe
  • Thyme -- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme leaves work in place of the thyme sprigs, though fresh really is better
  • Juice -- apple cider vinegar can work in place of the orange juice, in a pinch

What does a brined roasted turkey breast taste like?

Brined turkey, because of the salt content in the brining solution, is a tad saltier on the exterior of the meat, but actually isn't as salty inside of the breast as you may think. Instead, brined roast turkey tastes tender and juicy. A brined turkey breast is definitely more succulent than a non-brined breast.

This brined turkey also has subtle smokey citrus notes to it, almost like smoked turkey.

To brine or not to brine?

This is definitely a decision I consider each year when I plan out my Thanksgiving menu!

Here is a quick list of the pros and cons of brining.

  • The turkey -- especially the turkey breast - is juicier
  • Most of the turkey preparation work is done the day before the dinner
  • The meat is more flavorful

Can you also use this brine on a whole small turkey? A roasting chicken?

Yes, you certainly can use this brine on a whole small turkey or a roasting chicken.

If using a small turkey, make sure your pot is large enough to brine (or brine your bird in brining bags) and refer to this guide for turkey roasting times.

Why do we boil the brine first?

Though you don't technically need to boil the brine, we will do it in this recipe because it brings out the flavor of all of the aromatics -- the cloves, orange peel, thyme, and peppercorns -- in the solution.

Even though we boil the brine first, we'll cool the brine off with ice before adding the turkey to it, so we don't cook the bird as we brine it.

Is there alcohol in this brine?

Though we add bourbon to this brine, we do so towards the end of the boiling time, meaning that all of the actual alcohol in the recipe cooks off. So, we get the flavor of bourbon in this recipe without the actual alcohol. 🙂

Can you make this brine without bourbon?

Yes, you definitely can make this brine without bourbon. If you prefer to, just omit the bourbon from the recipe and follow the rest of the recipe steps as directed.

What is the best bourbon to make this recipe with?

The best bourbon to make this recipe with is the bourbon that you like the most. I like to use either Maker's Mark or Old Elk Bourbon in this recipe, as they're two of my favorites.

The bourbon accents the flavors in this turkey, rather than being the center stage, so choose a bourbon that you like but don't stress about choosing a high-quality bourbon.

What is brine and how does it work?

Brine is a salty solution that often contains aromatics (herbs, spices, onions, garlic, etc.), sugar, and water. I'll save you a long and scientific explanation of how a brine works, but the salty solution helps to tenderize the muscle proteins and infuse the meat with moisture, making the end result more tender and juicy.

How long do you brine a turkey breast?

You should brine your turkey breast for at least 24 hours, if not up to 36 hours. The longer the better, as the extra time will infuse flavor and moisture into the turkey breast.

What type of salt is best for a turkey brine?

The best type of salt to make a turkey brine with is kosher salt. My preferred brand of kosher salt is Morton. You can get it at most major grocery stores, Whole Foods, and on Amazon.

How to make this easy turkey brine:

  1. Combine the water, brown sugar, orange peels, thyme sprigs, cloves, salt, liquid smoke, black peppercorns, and orange juice in a dutch oven or stockpot.
  2. Bring the brine ingredients to a simmer over medium-high heat and stir, cooking for 10 minutes, or until the brine is aromatic and the salt and sugar have dissolved.
  3. Add the bourbon to the pot and let simmer for 1 minute.
  4. Remove the brine from the heat. Stir the ice into the brine and let the brine cool until just lukewarm.
  5. Add the turkey to the dutch oven full of brine and cover. Refrigerate in the brine for 24-36 hours.

How to roast the turkey breast:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add a roasting pan to the bottom of a 9 x 13" baking pan. Scatter orange and onion wedges over the roasting pan. Sprinkle the oranges with thyme.
  3. Remove the turkey breast from the brine. Rinse the turkey breast with cool water.
  4. Pat the turkey breast down with a paper towel. Place the turkey on top of the oranges and onions in the roasting pan.
  5. Smear 1 tablespoon of butter underneath the turkey skin. Sprinkle the turkey with a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Roast the turkey at 425 for 40 minutes, rotating the turkey half-way through.
  7. Tent the turkey with aluminum foil and roast the turkey for 55-65 more minutes, or until the turkey is cooked to 150-155 degrees Fahrenheit at the deepest part of the turkey breast.

How many pounds of turkey do you plan per person?

It really depends on how hungry your crew is, but I usually recommend on planning on between .75-1.25 pounds per person.

Aim on the higher end if you want turkey leftovers. Shoot for the lower end if you don't want leftovers and/or if your dinner guests aren't huge eaters.

Can you double this brine recipe? Can you make a full turkey breast with this recipe, too?

Yes, you can definitely double this recipe. If you are making a full turkey breast with the recipe there is no need to double the brine. You may just need a larger bot or a brining bag to fit the whole breast.

If brining a whole breast, add on 15 minutes of roasting time for each extra pound, or roast until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 150-155 degrees Fahrenheit.

To brine a full-size turkey, just double the brine ingredients and follow the directions as listed, following these guidelines for roasting time.

What internal temperature do you need to roast a turkey breast to?

You need to roast the turkey breast to an internal temperature of 150-155 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you like your turkey on the juicier side, roast your turkey just to 150 degrees and the turkey's temperature will increase closer to 155 degrees as it rests.

If you like your turkey more well-done, cook it to 155 degrees and the temperature will increase a bit as the turkey rests.

For the most accurate measure of the turkey's internal temperature, use a quick-reading thermometer like this one. An actual thermometer is always the best bet and much more accurate than the pop-up thermometers that come in the turkey.

Why do you need to let the meat rest before slicing?

We need to let the meat rest before slicing because it lets all the juice in the turkey redistribute before slicing. If we don't let it rest, all of the juices will drain out on the cutting board. If we let it rest, they will stay in the turkey, keeping the meat nice and juicy.

What is the best knife to slice turkey with?

The best type of knife to slice turkey with is a boning knife. Boning knives are long, narrow, and strong, making them perfect to slice through meat.

What do you serve with this juicy turkey breast?

There are so many delicious dishes you can serve with this juicy turkey breast! I usually serve it for Thanksgiving with the following dishes:

How long does leftover turkey last?

This leftover turkey will last covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it in a freezer-safe bag for 2-3 months.

What do you make with leftover turkey breast?

Whip up a pot of my favorite White Bean Turkey Chili with your leftover turkey breast! It's delicious, healthy, tasty, and creamy!

Tools needed to make this easy turkey brine:

If you don't have a small roasting rack, you can also substitute a long piece of aluminum foil, crinkled into a rope and snaked around the bottom of the pan.

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Turkey Brine: 5 Best Thanksgiving Recipes

In this quick video, chef Stephanie Izard explains the benefits of brining. If you&rsquore convinced, here are five great brines to try on your Thanksgiving turkey this year.

Every Thanksgiving, we are confronted with a daunting question: To brine or not to brine? In this quick video, chef Stephanie Izard explains the benefits of brining. If you’re convinced, here are five great brines to try on your Thanksgiving turkey this year.

A mix of apple juice, green apple, orange, herbs and spices like coriander, fennel, tarragon and sage infuses the turkey with bright and rich fall flavors.

Cayenne𠄻rown Sugar
This spicy-sweet brine is perfect if you’re going to fry the turkey.

Adding Guinness, or any dark beer, to a brine gives turkey a toasty flavor and helps give the skin a dark brown color.

This spiced brine gives the turkey a terrific smoky flavor.

One of the best wines to serve with turkey, Riesling is also incredible in this fruity, floral, aromatic brine.

Turkey Brining 101 – Best Brine Recipes

During the holiday season it’s hard walk past a magazine rack without seeing a perfectly glazed turkey on the cover. Turn the page and you’ll find many tips on how to make the perfect side dishes, gravy and desserts. But the turkey should be the star of your holiday table. To make sure you have a juicy and flavorful bird, take the extra time to brine the night before.


Brining combines a solution of salt and sugar to help change the chemistry of the protein that allows the brine solution and moisture to get trapped inside the protein. This is different then injecting the bird. Injecting will add moisture but the liquid will just sit on top of the meat. Brining actually adjusts the protein molecules so the liquid truly gets inside the meat. All the moisture and flavors from the brine solution create a very juicy and tender bird packed with flavor.


There are so many brine recipes. Make sure the ratio remains constant in the recipe. The basic solution should consist of 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of kosher salt and a gallon of water. From there you can add a variety of herbs and flavorings to suit your menu. You can use dried poultry herbs, garlic cloves or oranges. The flavorings aren’t as critical as the ratio of salt to sugar. That ratio is the scientific formula that allows that extraordinary juicy and tender turkey. You may use other liquids such as apple juice instead of water. And you may use maple syrup as a substitution for some of the sugar.
Just try to keep the ratio of salt to sugar in tact.


When brining, make sure to heat the salt and sugar solution so it completely dissolves. Then allow to completely cool. You may use ice cubes to help it cool down. Place your turkey breast-side down in a large white trash bag or in a store-bought brining bag. Then place bag inside of a large stockpot or a cooler. Pour brine solution over bird then tightly close the bag so that air won’t get to the bird. If your bird is not completely submerged then rotate is several times while brining. Make sure to your turkey to “bathe” in the brine solution for at least 1 hour per pound. Plan on 24 hours to experience the best results.

When you’re ready to roast or cook your turkey, remove from the brine and rinse completely under cold water. The meat won’t taste salty unless you forget this step of rinsing after soaking in the brine. If you don’t rinse, then the salts will penetrate the meat while cooking, so it’s important you don’t forget to rinse!

If you follow these steps and brine you’ll be amazed at how juicy and tender your turkey will be – even the breast meat! It’s a simple yet important step to insure that your turkey is truly the star of your Thanksgiving table.


Here are some suggested recipes for brining. If you have a favorite, I’d love it if you shared your recipe or a link in the comments section…

Smoked Turkey Brine Recipes For Savory Smoked Turkey

Thanksgiving 2005 Brine

This is the brine recipe I used for my Thanksgiving turkey of 2005. It turned out very tasty and moist. Give it a try and see what you think. The addition of ginger to the turkey brine was an experiment that went well. I enjoyed the cool bite of the ginger along with the other spices.

  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 3/4 cups Morton kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Morton Tender Quick
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sage
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Sweet Soya Turkey Brine

The rich flavor of the soy sauce is sweetened with brown sugar and can be warmed up with the red-heat of cayenne pepper powder. With this recipe, add the soy sauce when combining the two cooled pans of liquid.

  • 2 gallons water
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Apple and Spice Brine Recipe

This is a good flavored sweet brine that imparts the flavors of apple, spice and citrus to the turkey. MMMmmmm! Cherry wood for smoke is tops! Simmer spices in the orange and apple juices for 15 minutes. Boil the sugar and salt in the water until dissolved. Cool both, combine, and refrigerate overnight before adding turkey.

  • 1 gallon water
  • 3 quarts orange juice
  • 3 quarts apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Basic Brine for Smoked Turkey

This is the starting point for all brine recipes. Use this as a starting point for creating your own brine recipe. If you add juices or beverages, decrease the recipe amount of water by the amount of added liquids.

Hot and Spicy Jalapeño Turkey Brine

If you like it warm…or HOT!, this is the brine for you. The jalapenos give the turkey a nice peppery flavor. Increase or decrease the pepper amounts to satisfy your own craving for heat.

  • 2 gallons water
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 pound jalapenos, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

Use the turkey brine recipes on this page as a guide to your own recipe adventures. Half the fun of smoker cooking is coming up with a unique and excellent recipe that produces bragging-quality smoked food!

Make a Better Turkey – Turkey Brining Recipe

Ok, turkey day is fast approaching. Do you have your menu planned? Grocery list made? How about your table setting planned?

As you prep for the holiday, make sure you put this easy turkey brine recipe on your planning list. It will take your Thanksgiving turkey from good to great with just a few steps.

So, first, what does brining mean?

Brining is similar to marinating but doesn’t use the large amounts of acid (vinegar, citrus, etc) that marinating does. It involves soaking the meat in a salt water solution for somewhere between 30 minutes to several days.

How to brine a turkey?

Brining a turkey is actually really simple. On a basic level, it involves soaking the turkey in a salt solution for several hours.

How long to brine a turkey?

There is really no exact answer on this one. I typically brine my turkey overnight because that is what is easiest. The recommended amount of time is a minimum of 8 hours to be most effective.

Now, some people tend to shy away from brining because they think it is difficult or a big hassle. It really is neither!

Not to sure how to brine a turkey? All you need is some salt, brown sugar, vegetable broth, peppercorns, allspice, and ginger.

You will combine all of the items and bring them to a boil. Let the mixture cool completely before adding to the turkey. You can even refrigerate it overnight before adding to the turkey.

We use coarse kosher salt but sea salt would also work great.

When you’re ready to use the brine, take your turkey and place it in a bucket or a turkey brine bag and add in your broth mixture, water, and ice. Leave it overnight in the fridge to sit in the brine.

When you’re ready to cook your turkey, take it out of the brine and just wash it in cold water.

How do you cook a brined turkey?

After you use this turkey brine recipe, you simply cook your turkey the way your normally would. Using the best turkey brine recipe (this one!) you can find doesn’t really change how you ultimately prepare your turkey for the meal.

For us, cooking the turkey involves using a turkey brine recipe and then cooking the turkey in a roasting bag. We have friends who love their turkeys deep fried. You pick your favorite.

The Best Brine and Gravy For Your Next Turkey

Fall. I absolutely love this time of year. The crinkling of the colorful leaves, the fall colors, football, and the thought that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and you know what that means&hellip.turkey on the grill.

I first started grilling our turkey 6 years ago on our Weber Performer® and haven&rsquot cooked a turkey inside ever since. Once you taste a turkey that&rsquos been grilled, you&rsquoll never heat up your kitchen again and cook one inside in the oven!

Now, there are many choices one has. You can add smoke flavor by adding flavored wood chips/chunks, you can brine or not brine, you can grill on charcoal or gas, and you can add as many different seasonings as you like. Your choices are endless.

My personal favorite is our recipe for Brined and Barbecue Turkey, found in our cookbook, &ldquoWeber&rsquos Charcoal Grilling &ndash The Art of Cooking with Live Fire&rdquo. You can check out the recipe here.

What makes this recipe work is the combined effort of brining in apple juice, and then adding apple wood chips while grilling to add beautiful smoke flavor to the bird which also helps add that wonderful color to the outside.

The turkey itself sits in a &ldquobath&rdquo of chicken broth flavored with all kinds of goodies including carrots, celery, onions (you know&hellipthe holy trinity of cooking) and extremely aromatic herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and sage. OMG! Is your mouth watering yet?

Once off of the grill and fully rested, when it&rsquos time for carving time, I promise you this may be the juiciest bird you have ever cut into. Between the brine and the broth, it is heaven on a plate.

And finally, the icing on this &ldquoturkey cake&rdquo is making a pan gravy that is made by using the drained broth from which the turkey sat in for several hours, pouring that thru a fat separator or strainer, and combining that with flour, butter, and some wine to make an incredibly flavorful and delicious gravy.

Can you smell it? Can you taste it? Are you ready?

If you haven&rsquot done so already, you must try grilling your turkey this year. As I said, it&rsquos easier than you think, you have so many options, and an endless variety of flavors to choose from. I wish you and your families a very heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Turkey time!

Brined and Barbecued Turkey with Pan Gravy
by Jamie Purviance

Serves: 10 to 12
Prep time: 30 minutes
Brining time: 18 to 24 hours
Grilling time: 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours


2 quarts apple juice
1 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 turkey, 10 to 12 pounds, fresh or defrosted

½ cup melted unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
4 small chunks apple wood or 4 small handfuls apple wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

Reserved pan liquid plus enough chicken stock to make 4 cups of liquid
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose fl our
⅓ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large pot combine the brine ingredients. Stir vigorously until the salt has dissolved.

2. Remove the neck and giblets from both ends of the turkey and reserve in the refrigerator for the gravy. Cut off and reserve the wing tips for the gravy, too. If your turkey has a trussing clamp, leave it in place. Do not truss the turkey. Rinse the turkey, inside and out, with cold water.

3. Partially fill a cooler with ice. Open a large, sturdy plastic bag in the cooler. Place the turkey, breast side down, in the bag. Carefully pour the brine over the turkey and then add 3 quarts of cold water. Press the air out of the bag, seal the bag tightly, close the lid of the cooler, and set aside for 18 to 24 hours.

4. Prepare a half circle or crescent-shaped fire for low heat. Remove the turkey from the bag and rinse it, inside and out, with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine. Lightly coat the turkey with some of the melted butter. Season with the pepper.

5. Pour the chicken stock into a sturdy, 9 x 13-inch roasting pan. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the reserved turkey neck, giblets, and wing tips. Place the turkey, breast side down, in the roasting pan.

6. Place the roasting pan in the center of the cooking grate. Position the pan so the turkey legs face the charcoal. Drain, then add 2 wood chunks or 2 handfuls of wood chips to the charcoal. Cook the turkey over indirect low heat (300˚F to 350˚F), with the lid closed, for 1 hour. Use your Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub to monitor the turkey's temperature.

7. After 1 hour, to maintain the heat, add 10 to 12 unlit charcoal briquettes to the lit charcoal, using long-handled tongs to tuck the unlit charcoal between the lit charcoal. Drain and add the remaining wood chunks or chips to the charcoal. Carefully turn the turkey over in the pan so the breast faces up. Continue to cook the turkey over indirect low heat, with the lid closed, for a second hour.

8. At the end of the second hour, baste the turkey all over with the remaining butter. If any parts are getting too dark, tightly wrap them with aluminum foil. Once again, add 10 to 12 unlit charcoal briquettes to the lit charcoal to maintain the heat. Continue to cook the turkey over indirect low heat. The total cooking time will be 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 175°F in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone) and 165°F in the breast. Note: The internal temperature will rise 5°F to 10°F during resting.

9. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil, and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, make the gravy.

10. Strain the pan liquid through a sieve into a large fat separator and discard all the solids. Add enough chicken stock to equal 4 cups of liquid. Place the roasting pan over a stovetop burner set to medium heat. Add the butter and flour. As the butter melts, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until the mixture turns the color of peanut butter, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 4 cups of the reserved pan liquid (but not the fat) plus the wine. Bring the gravy to a boil, whisking frequently to dissolve the lumps. Lower the heat and simmer the gravy for a few minutes or until it reaches the consistency you like. If the gravy gets too thick, add more chicken stock a little at a time and simmer until it reaches the right thickness. Turn off the heat. Add the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Carve the turkey. Serve warm with the gravy.

© 2007 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from Weber&rsquos Charcoal Grilling&trade. Used with permission.

How to brine a turkey: Recipes, times

Brining is similar to marinating, but is primarily focused on moistening the meat as opposed to adding flavor. Brining your turkey prior to cooking will help ensure you end up with a deliciously moist and flavor-packed turkey for your next gathering.

The first step in the process is selecting your brine recipe. Savory Turkey Brine made with Kikkoman Soy Sauce is a simple and versatile choice that works for any occasion. Once you've selected your brine you'll need to:

Purchase a fresh turkey to eliminate the need to thaw, or completely thaw a frozen turkey.
The night before roasting, remove the giblets and turkey neck. Rinse the turkey inside and out.
Prepare your brine. Be sure to mix ingredients until all of the salt is dissolved. If your brine is heated, be sure to cool it to room temperature before brining.
Place your turkey, breast down, in a large container made of food-grade plastic, stainless steel, glass, or a brining bag. Be sure the container will fit in your fridge.
Add brine, covering the entire turkey.
Place in the refrigerator for the specified period of time.
Remove turkey from brine after recommended time. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Cook turkey as desired.

Perfect Brine Time
12 lbs. or less - 8 to 12 hrs.
12 to 14 lbs. - 9 to 14 hrs.
20 lbs. and over -15 to 20 hrs.

Savory Turkey Brine Recipe

2 gallons cold water
10 ounces Soy Sauce
1/2 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons dried celery seed
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 16 - 24 lbs. Butterball Whole Turkey

Mix all ingredients until the salt is dissolved and follow our Brining Steps.

Did You Know.
As a rule of thumb, you should brine your turkey 45 to 60 minutes per pound.

  • 3 gallons water, divided
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, dark tops trimmed off, chopped
  • 1 small stalk celery, chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 star anise
  • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 12- to 14-pound naturally fed, free-range turkey
  • 1 large sprig rosemary for basting
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil for basting

Bring 1 gallon water to a boil in a large nonreactive pot that will hold your turkey and fit in your refrigerator (see Tip). Stir in sugar and salt until completely dissolved. Turn off the heat. Stir in carrots, onions, leeks, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, coriander, crushed red pepper, fennel seeds, star anise and thyme. Add the remaining 2 gallons water. Place the turkey in the brine and weight it with a plate, if necessary, so it stays below the surface. Refrigerate for 72 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the turkey from the brine, brush off any briny bits and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (discard the brine). Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey on a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan.

Roast the turkey until the skin starts to brown, about 40 minutes. Use rosemary sprig to baste the turkey with oil. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting the turkey, basting with more oil about every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165 degrees F, 1 to 1 1/2 hours more, depending on the size of the turkey. If the skin begins to darken too much, cover it loosely with foil.

Carefully transfer the turkey to a large, clean cutting board let it rest, loosely covered with foil, for 20 minutes before removing the string and carving.

Make Ahead Tip: Pot, bucket or clean cooler large enough to hold the turkey (but small enough to fit in your refrigerator), kitchen string

Kitchen Tip: If you do not have a pot large enough to hold the turkey plus the 3 gallons of brining liquid, bring 1 gallon of water to a boil in a smaller pot, add the flavorings (Step 1), then transfer the brine to a clean large bucket or medium cooler (small enough to fit in your refrigerator). Add the remaining 2 gallons water and the turkey. To fit the brining turkey into your refrigerator, you may need to remove a shelf or two.

Brine recipes

Brining does a number of things. It can add flavour to whatever is submerged in it it seasons ingredients from the inside out and has an impact on texture (usually making meat juicier and more tender, while making fish slightly firmer). It’s what a number of chefs use to ensure their ingredients are at their very best, and while it might sound complicated, it’s actually a very easy and simple way of taking produce to the next level.

This collection of brining recipes contains a mix of dishes which feature brines in the method and specific recipes for brines which can be used for all manner of dishes. We’ve got a Soft herb brine for fish a Rosemary and sage brine that works well with pork and turkey a Sichuan peppercorn brine that’s great with duck and a Spiced festive brine that adds bags of flavour to Christmas ham. For more specific examples of brining in action, take a look at Emily Watkins’ Lamb neck fillet with smoky mashed potatoes or Shay Cooper’s Corned beef brisket with mustard and pickles.

There’s a lot of science behind how and why brining is such a useful skill to master, which we’ve covered in our complete guide to brining. Be sure to give that a read if you’re after a more concise understanding of the technique.

If you're looking to get to grips with brining this Christmas, take a look at our video masterclass from Richard Bainbridge, which covers every aspect of the process (along with recipes and step-by-step videos for every other aspect of Christmas dinner).

Smoked Turkey Ingredients

  • Whole Turkey (clean & trimmed)
  • All Purpose Seasoning
  • White Onion
  • Celery
  • Olive Oil

Brining Your Turkey

Right away, let’s address the question on everyone’s mind: why brine the turkey before smoking? Brining o turkey (or any other meat before cooking) serves a few different purposes. Firstly, it adds moisture to the meat, which will result in a more juicy, tender meal for you and your loved ones. Secondly, it allows the spices, herbs, and any other ingredients you add to work on the meat for a prolonged period of time. Taking those flavors to a whole new level!

For the brine, mix: 1/3 gallon cold water, 1/2 Cup salt, 2 Cups brown sugar, 2 Tbsp peppercorn, 1 Tbsp allspice, 1 Tbsp thyme, 1 Tbsp sage. Mix the ingredients, then pour it into the container you’ll use for brining. Place the turkey in the brine, then add as much cold water as you need to cover the bird completely. Now either add ice to the water, or (preferably) place the container in the fridge overnight.

Once the brining is done, drain all of the liquids and pat the bird dry with a paper towel. Now season the cavity with the all purpose rub, then stuff with onions, celery, and/or any other veggies & herbs you like. Then tie the chickens legs together with butchers twine to keep everything inside. Rub some olive oil on the outside and season with the AP rub.

Smoking Your Turkey

Time to get hot! Set your pellet smoker up for cooking in the 275ºF – 300ºF range. Keep in mind that temps will fluctuate regularly on a pellet grill, so keep an eye out for any extreme changes in temperature.

Place the turkey on the pellet smoker, and install your thermometer probes. About every 30 minutes, check on the turkey. If the skin starts drying up, apply another layer of oil.

Once you get a core temp of 165º in the breast and 175º (give or take) in the thigh, pull the pellet smoked turkey off the heat. Tent with foil and let carryover heat work on it for 15 minutes.

That’s it! Slice your pellet smoked turkey up, and serve with some giblet gravy on the side.