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The Best Brined Turkey

The Best Brined Turkey from Weelicious

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If you’ve never had a brined turkey, trust me, you are missing out. And once you try it, you’ll never go back. This recipe is the piece de la resistance of our Thanksgivings. That's why I consider it the perfect post for Rewind Wednesday! I have to say, if I was going to have a last meal, this would be it. When I make a turkey, even if I'm only serving 4 people, I always make one to serve 12. Turkey is the perfect leftover meat because you can keep it in the fridge and turn it into so many other dishes like sandwiches, turkey hash, turkey pot pies and so on. In our house you never have to worry about it going bad because it's all gone before that can even happen. It feeds us all for a week: lunch, dinner....sometimes even breakfast!

The Best Brined Turkey from Weelicious

I've been brining turkey for several years and I have to say it's THE trick to making a perfect turkey. It makes turkey extra juicy and imparts the perfect flavor. I like to use cloves and bay leaves as aromatics in the brine, but you could also toss in some onion, cinnamon stick, apple, celery, or basically any flavors you love. I brought a turkey to our regular "kids dinner party" last night and everyone devoured it. At the same time, though, most of the mother's were saying "I couldn't EVER roast a turkey". Don't be intimidated, it's really easy.

The Best Brined Turkey from Weelicious

After making the brine and placing it in a large pot with the turkey, I cover it and leave it outside overnight. Yep, outside and overnight. First of all, I don't know anyone with a refrigerator large enough to hold a gigantic pot and second, it's usually 55 degrees or lower in
most of the U.S. this time of year, so it's the perfect temperature to brine in — certainly as good as your fridge, if not better. Besides the cooking time, this recipes is reasonably
economical, super easy and everyone in the family will love it! Even the tiniest members.

The Best Brined Turkey  (Makes 8-10 Servings)

  • Prep Time: 1 days,
  • Cook Time: 2 hrs,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
If you’ve never had a brined turkey, trust me, you are missing out. And once you try it, you’ll never go back. This recipe is the piece de la resistance of our Thanksgivings. I have to say, if I was going to have a last meal, this would be it. When...

Ingredients

  • water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup salt (preferably kosher)
  • 1 10-12 pound turkey, defrosted
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

Preparation

  1. 1. Place the sugar and salt in 4 cups of hot water. Stir until the sugar and salt to dissolve.
  2. 2. Place the brine in a large stock pot with a gallon of cold water, cloves and bay leaves and a handful of ice to make sure the water is cold. Stir to combine.
  3. 3. Wash the turkey inside and out and place breast side down in the stockpot with brine (you want the water to just cover the turkey).
  4. 4. Refrigerate 18-24 hours (or set it in a cool safe place outside as long as it’s below 55 degrees outside).
  5. 5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  6. 6. Take the turkey out of the brine and rinse inside and out with cold water, discarding brine.
  7. 7. Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a wide low pan and
  8. blot the turkey with a paper towel.
  9. 8. Tuck back the wings and rub the skin of the turkey with the oil.
  10. 9. Roast on the lowest rack of the oven for 30 minutes and then place a piece of foil just over the breast of the turkey to cover (the breast cooks faster then the legs and wings so this process helps it to cook more evenly).
  11. 10. Pour 1 cup of water in the pan, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to roast 1 hour.
  12. 11. Remove the foil from the breast and cook another 15-30 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer into the deepest part of the thigh (avoiding the bone) to reach a temperature of 160-165 degrees. The turkey will actually continue to cook a little even after you take it out of the oven (the total cooking time in the oven will be 1 hour 45 minutes-2 hours total).
  13. 12. Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes (this is an essential step to allow the juices to redistribute and settle).
  14. 13. Slice and serve.
  15. 14. So good!
The Best Brined Turkey

Nutrition Information

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Comments






  1. Shayne

    November 26, 2014 at 4:20 am

    Guys, Please be careful with the cook times listed here, they seem really off. I usually roast a six pound chicken for 1.5 hours and my 15-pound turkey gets about 3.5 hours. Google it, allrecipes and epicurious both have more accurate guides. I just don’t want anyone to get sick.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Jodi

    November 25, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I was hoping to make gravy with the drippings- Karen below said you can’t with a brined turkey- Do you make gravy with yours?

  3. Karen

    November 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    I made this last year and it was the best turkey many of my family and friends had had. It was my first turkey, so I was pretty impressed with myself! One word of caution to any other rookies out there. It may be obvious to the experts, but clearly wasn’t to me. DO NOT make gravy from the roasting pan of a brined turkey!!! WAY TOO salty!!!

  4. Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy

    November 19, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I’ve never had a chance to make my own turkey, but when I do, I will definitely be brining!

  5. Kim

    November 19, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I would love to try this. For an 18 pound turkey how do I increase cooking time and ingredients??

    • C. McCord

      November 20, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      The rule of thumb is 1 1/2 – 2 hours total cooking time for a 9-18 pound bird, 2 – 3 hours for a 18-22 pound bird, and 3-4 hours for a 22-24 pound bird following the heating guidelines in this recipe. Make sure a thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 160-165 Degrees F!

  6. sahar

    November 19, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I am huge fan of brining. We always do this every year and throwing in chopped celery, onions and carrots help too. How long would you cook a 18-20 lb. Turkey? 2 hours doesn’t seem like enough.

    • C. McCord

      November 20, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      The rule of thumb is 1 1/2 – 2 hours total cooking time for a 9-18 pound bird, 2 – 3 hours for a 18-22 pound bird, and 3-4 hours for a 22-24 pound bird following the heating guidelines in this recipe. Make sure a thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 160-165 Degrees F!

    • Nicole Head

      November 20, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Did anyone figure out the times for a bigger turkey?

      • Stacy Eckert

        November 26, 2014 at 11:23 pm

        Cooking time is 15 min per pound…..I have a 21 lb bird, so I’m looking at 5.25 hours!!

      • C. McCord

        November 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm

        The rule of thumb is 1 1/2 – 2 hours total cooking time for a 9-18 pound bird, 2 – 3 hours for a 18-22 pound bird, and 3-4 hours for a 22-24 pound bird following the heating guidelines in this recipe. Make sure a thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 160-165 Degrees F!

  7. Kate Haisch

    November 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you for this post! I am excited to try it. One question – you state it is ok to leave the turkey outside over night at max 55 degrees – however that is about 15 degrees into the “temperature danger zone.” Does this work because of the high amount of salt? It inhibits bacteria growth? Thank you for insight. :)

    • C. McCord

      November 11, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Make sure there is always ice in the bucket! If you have a mixture of ice and water, the ice will keep everything at a cooler temperature!

  8. Moe

    November 28, 2013 at 1:52 am

    Okay, seriously. Could a child get any cuter?

  9. Amber

    September 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    This is super awesome if you cook it in a crockpot roaster, no need to carve it falls off the bone

  10. Maia Waissar

    August 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Catharine What is Brining?

    • catherine

      August 27, 2012 at 11:28 am

      It is soaking something (usually meat) in a flavorful liquid for a period of time, usually longer than four hours!

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      February 3, 2014 at 12:11 am

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  13. ebony

    November 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    can regular salt be used if i don’t have kosher? i just want to know before i make a store run. also, if i have an 8lb turkey, do i have to let it sit for 24hrs? there’s only 3 of us, so we didn’t do anything big.

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  16. Crystal Landry

    November 24, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I have a question…

    If you have a 24 lb turkey, is it the same amount of salt, sugar, cloves & bay leaves?

    Thanks,
    Crystal

    • catherine

      November 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

      For a turkey that big, I would add an extra half cup of sugar and salt and some extra cloves and bay leaves.

  17. Suzanne Teller

    November 24, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Hi Catherine,

    Would the brining process work the same way with just a turkey breast?

    Thanks!
    -Suzanne