This roast turkey recipe, including the brine, will ensure a juicy, flavorful turkey, with crispy skin every time!
You might be laughing right now, thinking “Who is this woman and why does she think she knows how to make the perfect turkey?”.
Years and years of trial and error my friends!
I started cooking turkey for the family wayyyyyy back before I had kids. My grandfather and grandmother were the ones that ran the show over the holidays, and I loved hanging out with them in the kitchen while they cooked.
Grandpa made the stuffing, my Grandma always baked bread (aaahhh I can still smell it!), and pecan pie.
I remember one year my Grandmother was making her famous pecan pie. We were all hanging around the kitchen, drooling, and she grabbed the pie out of the oven to set it on a rack to cool. For some reason, the oven mitt didn’t protect her from the heat of the pie tin, and down the pie went onto the floor.
It was like slow motion. Pie tin tips, pie begins to slip, several of us jump for it.
Like we are going to be able to bare hand catch a blazingly hot pie right?
Nope, it hit the floor.
My grandmother was so upset.
Meanwhile, the rest of us went about the task of gabbing the tools that would allow us to still enjoy the scrumptious dessert.
We grabbed a spatula and a baking sheet. I carefully used the spatula to lift the pie up leaving just a thin amount on the floor and slid it on to the baking sheet.
Hey, we used to joke that my Grandma kept her floors so clean that you could eat off of them!! We were not losing this pie!!
That year we joked about how wonderful my Grandma’s Upside Down Pecan Pie was and that she needed to share the recipe with everyone.
I think I got hit in the head with a stray wooden spoon!
I love every single one of those memories,
along with the little tips and tricks that they taught me.
I have of course, through the years, tweaked things here and there. But the basics still remain the same. Sometimes simple is just the way to go, right?
Here is our gorgeous bird, out of the brine, and all seasoned up.
Now for, what might seem like, a very strange step to the process.
Cover your bird with a layer of cheesecloth, ad tuck her in nice. The result of this?
A gorgeous, evenly browned, and crispy skin every single time!!
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, sugar, vinegar, rosemary, thyme, sage, and peppercorns in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stirring occasionally to dissolve the salt and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature.
2 days before you’d like to eat
Combine the brine, water, and ice in a large stockpot. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed and reserved) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
Remove the bird and discard the brine. Pat the bird dry. Season with cracked black pepper and poultry seasoning, rubbing the skin to make sure the seasoning is even all over the bird. Place the turkey on a platter or baking sheet in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours.
The day you want to eat
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
Place a rack in your roasting pan, or you can lay carrots and celery stalks on the bottom of the roaster to left the turkey up from the bottom.
Carefully place the turkey in the roasting pan, breast side up. Place the garlic, onion, lemons, and herbs inside the cavity. Truss the turkey if it does not come that way.
Loosely cover the turkey with the cheesecloth, tucking the edges into the pan.
Heat at least 2 quarts of the stock in a medium pot, over medium heat. Add the innards (neck, liver, heart, etc) and keep the stock just below a simmer. You will use this to baste your turkey and to make your gravy if wanted.
Place the turkey in the oven with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh.
Cook the turkey, basting every after 30 minutes for the first hour, then every hour until it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove the turkey from the oven, tent with foil, and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. The temperature will rise as it rests.
Using the turkey baster, carefully squirt the warmed stock over the bird as you slowly peel the cheesecloth off. Be patient, don’t tear the skin.
The result will be brown, crispy gorgeous skin!
Remove the herbs and replace with fresh for garnish
Actual carbs per serving will be much lower since you are not consuming the brine or all of the chicken stock/bone broth.
Sat. Fat (grams)
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs will not be included as it has a glycemic index of 0 (meaning it does not spike blood sugar) and it’s not metabolized. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
This picture could be in a magazine! It's gorgeous. I have decided to brine my turkey for the time so thank you for the recipe. I have collected a bunch of recipes but I am going to use this one. Just out of curiosity – what is the pupose of the cheesecloth? / and where did you get this idea from? Thanks
Thanks so much for the fantastic compliment! As for the cheesecloth, my mother used it and it helps hold the basting fluid all over the skin for even browning. I just saw someone else use it for the first time on the Food Network's Thanksgiving Challenge.
Your turkey looks amazing! I have never heard of baking a turkey with cheesecloth. I will be trying this at least this year to see how well it comes out. Anything is worth a try to get a great turkey dinner.
I have never heard to cover it in cheesecloth. But I have to try that next time! It does look quite gorgeous! And I always use a brine. It is just too darn good and I can never go back to roasting a turkey without a brine!
That does look great, mine is never that pretty but at least I have gotten to where they are edible (we have all been there when they weren't!). I am not sure how we are preparing ours this year yet, I will print this one out to share with my husband as we decide.
This turkey looks delicious. I think preparing the turkey is probably the most intimidating part of any holiday feast preparation. You always hear horror stories of holiday dinners where they turkey preparation went awry.
I can't make to bake my first turkey this year using the brinning recipe!!! Can you tell me about how long will the bird be in the oven??? Doing dinner on Wednesday and I'm in charge of everything to have ready by the time mom gets home at 6 pm.
The charts will tell you that it should be about 20 minutes per pound but mine usually takes a hour less than the charts say. That is why I use a meat thermometer. It has a lot to do with your oven. This was a 14 pound turkey and it took me about 3 1/2 hours.
After hours of searching for turkey brines I chose this one. Even though I didn't have a gallon of vegetable stock so I used 64oz of chicken stock and 72.5oz of chicken broth. I didn't have thyme either. I hope it still works.
Welcome! It is so nice to meet you. My name is Bobbi. I am the Mom of 2 great kids, and Nana to a beautiful baby girl Kylee, and a handsome little devil named Torin. I share my life and home with my awesome partner Kevin, and 2 furbabies….