I used to just buy my turkey, plop it in a pan, and roast it in the oven with butter smeared on it. It was good, but it was kind of dry. Then I saw an episode on Food Network by Alton Brown about brining a turkey. I tried it a couple of years ago and have been hooked ever since! The brine makes the turkey juicy, moist, and gives it a flavor that butter and salt just can’t compete with!
After your brining is complete, then you can cook your turkey. Here are my recipes for both my brine and my turkey. Hope you enjoy!
- 1 gallon vegetable broth
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 gallon ice water
- In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
- When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.
- Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight (or you can put the turkey in a cooler and load it down with lots of ice to keep the turkey cold)
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 (12 pound) whole turkey
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, basil, Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt. Set aside.
- Wash the turkey inside and out; pat dry. Remove any large fat deposits. Loosen the skin from the breast. This is done by slowly working your fingers between the breast and the skin. Work it loose to the end of the drumstick, being careful not to tear the skin.
- Using your hand, spread a generous amount of the rosemary mixture under the breast skin and down the thigh and leg. Rub the remainder of the rosemary mixture over the outside of the breast. Use toothpicks to seal skin over any exposed breast meat.
- Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Add about 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Roast in the preheated oven 3 to 4 hours, or until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 180 degrees.