Recipe – Review – Turkey Brine and Roasting

November 29, 2015
turkey brine

Every Thanksgiving I go through the turmoil of what recipes to use.  PLEASE YA’LL – remind me to check this post when I start freaking out next year.

I used Ree Drummond’s brine recipe this year.  AND OMG LIFE CHANGING INDEED!  Now, I did make a frantic phone call to my husband Wednesday morning – I had already made the brine Tuesday night, and put the turkey (THAWED) into the brine Wednesday morning before I left for work.  Well I had used the recipe from Food Network, but hey, I also have Ree’s books.  So I was reading in her Year of Holidays book, and the brine recipe is there too – well it says – don’t brine a previously frozen turkey.  WHAT THE WHAT OH NO!  Hubby talked me off the ledge and said all would be fine. She warns, that brining a previously frozen turkey – could result in a too salty turkey, as frozen turkeys have often been somewhat brined before.  I almost ALWAYS buy a fresh turkey – but this year I bought a frozen a few weeks before Thanksgiving.  Russell (my source for most current news and events) said he had read that there would be a shortage of turkeys this year, due to a bird flu issue.  Hence I bought a frozen one when I saw them in the store.

Anyway back to the brine.


3 cups apple cider
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons tricolor peppercorns
5 whole bay leaves
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped off
Peel of three large oranges, removed in large strips


Combine 2 gallons cold water with the apple cider, brown sugar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, rosemary and orange peels in a large pot. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover.

Allow to cool completely, then place into the fridge to chill. Place uncooked turkey in the chilled brine solution, then refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours.

When ready to roast the turkey, remove from the brine. Submerge the turkey in a pot or sink of fresh, cold water. Allow to sit in clean water for 15 minutes to remove excess salt from the outside.

Discard the brine. Remove the turkey from the clean water, pat dry, and cook according to your normal roasting method.

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond

Well I can’t do better than the Pioneer woman – so I followed her recipe to the T.


Now for roasting the turkey I decided to use Alton Brown’s method.  I can’t tell you why, but I did.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. 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 courtesy of Alton Brown


I WANT TO REPEAT THIS NEXT YEAR – I am asking for you all to help me remember this!!

What are your tried and true Holiday recipes?  Do you want to share them?


Turkey Brine



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