PoultryDinner Series

Brined Roasted Turkey

PoultryDinner Series

Brined Roasted Turkey Brined Roasted Turkey



  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey (but this reipe is simple to adjust for larger birds)
  • 1 large orange, cut into 1/8ths
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/8ths
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 bunch sage
  • 3 or 4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting

Turkey Broth:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Reserved turkey neck and giblets
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 3 cups turkey stock, chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 cups water


  • 4 cups turkey broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Start with the brine the night before. Dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a container like a clean bucket, large stockpot, or cooler. Toss in the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary. If your turkey is bigger than 12 pounds and you think it needs more brine, add 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar more for each additional gallon of water.
  2. Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and set aside to use in the gravy later. Rinse the bird well in the sink and put it in the brine for about 24 hours, less is fine if you're short on time, but try to give it at least 12 hours in the solution for the full benefit of brining. Most will tell you to keep it in the fridge during this time, but refrigerator space is usally scarce around Thanksgiving. During colder Thanksgivings, I've used a cooler as my brining vessel and left it in the garage overnight, occasionally adding ice to the brine to keep the temperature down during the warmer part of the day.
  3. You'll want to follow the instructions pertaining to cooking time your bird likely came with, but these should provide you with the basics for a 10-12 pound bird. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Remove turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold water. Pat it dry inside the cavity and out and place it, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. Rub the breast side with orange quarters and rub all sides with the butter, stuffing some underneath the skin. Season inside and out with salt & pepper and stuff the cavity with the onion, remaining orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Roast the turkey, uncovered, with the breast side down for 1 hour.
  4. When the hour is up, remove from the oven, turn it over, and baste the bird with 1/2 cup of stock. Continue to roast your turkey with the breast side up until a meat thermometer measures 165°F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone). About 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with about a 1/2 cup of the stock.
  5. When you remove it from the oven, tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving. Be sure to save the pan and pan juices for making the gravy.

For the turkey broth:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard. Saute for about 1 minute, until they're almost browned. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and saute until soft, about 2 more minutes.
  2. Pour the stock and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about an hour. Add the chopped liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  3. Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Pull the meat off the neck, coursely chop the neck meat and giblets, and set aside for the gravy.

For the gravy:

  1. Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass measuring cup and skim off the fat.
  2. Place the roasting pan across 2 stovetop burners over medium heat. Add the pan juice, 1 cup turkey broth, and the white wine to the pan to deglaze it, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cups of broth, bring to a simmer, and then transfer everything to a measuring cup.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Pour in the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the reserved neck meat and giblets to the pan and a seasoning with salt and black pepper.
    1. Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse and the Food Network.