The best turkey I’ve ever made has been this SUPER JUICY, BRINED ROASTED TURKEY!!! My mother-in-law asked me to make this every Thanksgiving and this recipe couldn’t be easier!
I love turkey but it seemed like no matter how it was cooked, basted a lot, cooked for just the right amount of time or even in an oven bag, it was always dry. I would slather tons of gravy or cranberry sauce on it just to be able to swallow it. I was always nervous after pulling it out of the oven and had images of the scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation flooding my brain.
A few years back I found this recipe from Emeril Lagasse. It was a life saver! It’s very easy to do and makes a perfectly juicy turkey every time. My mother-in-law asks me every holiday if I’m making the turkey because she loves it! It has so much flavor and it’s sooooo juicy. My mom was worried the first time I told her I was going to brine the bird, thinking it would be very salty or like a pickle. Trust me, you’ll be so happy once you try this you won’t go back. When you brine your turkey you are letting the turkey sit for 12 to 24 hours in a solution of salt and sugar. When I first started this I didn’t have my garage refrigerator so I would put it in a cooler with lots of ice on it for the day. I just inherited a refrigerator and it has made this a lot easier. I was first thinking I had to get a huge stock pot to hold the bird and solution but I didn’t want to spend $60 to get a pot big enough. So I went to the paint section of the store and found a big bucket and lid I could use. So I ended up spending less then $4. I was so excited! I washed the bucket out really good and it will never be used for anything other than the turkey so I don’t have to worry about things other than my brine getting into the bird.
If you follow the link to Emeril’s recipe you will find this brine recipe and also his recipe for roasting the bird, gravy and turkey stock. I always make the turkey stock to use for basting and my gravy. The first year I used the pan juices from the bird and it was very salty. So the day before Thanksgiving, usually in the morning, I start the brine. Then, later in the day I make my stock using the giblets from the bird. My mom loves to eat these so they get saved for her after the stock is made. Other people hang onto them for the gravy, it’s up to you. I’ve made his gravy recipe and it’s good but we stick with our family favorite from my mom. Give this a shot this year and you’ll never go back I promise!
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 oranges quartered
- 2 lemons quartered
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 2 gallons of water
- defrosted or fresh turkey
- stick of melted butter
- poultry seasoning
- rinse turkey and remove neck and giblets from the inside of the bird
- In a big container mix cold water, salt, brown sugar, oranges, lemons, thyme and rosemary
- place turkey in container (if turkey isn't completely submerged make more brine to cover)
- Allow to sit in mixture for 12 to 24 hours in either refrigerator or cooler with ice
- Preheat oven to 350
- remove turkey from brine and rinse off
- place in roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels
- rub skin with soft butter
- sprinkle with just a little salt and pepper
- sprinkle with poultry seasoning and rub around, making sure to get the wings and legs
- If you are not using an oven bag you will want to baste the bird every hour
- Roast until internal temperature reaches at least 165 in the thickest part of your bird.
- Time will vary depending on the size of your bird and whether or not you stuff it.
- If the breast or legs begin to get too dark loosely cover with foil