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Monday, November 19, 2007

Re-post: Brine for a delicious roasted turkey

I came across this recipe back in the summer and gave it a try. It really does make for a deliciously moist roasted turkey! I've also halved the brine and used it for a roast chicken with equally good results. This recipe calls for juniper berries - I've no idea where to find these, so I've left them out. Perhaps it is better with them, but my family thinks they are unnecessary. I do have several large rosemary bushes, so I used that when I roasted the turkey to take the place of the juniper.

Keep in mind, you need to brine a fully-defrosted Turkey for a whole day, so plan ahead accordingly!

Here's the recipe:
I found the following recipe for brine that can be used for chicken, turkey, or a pork roast on It is originally from Chez Panisse. It makes a LOT of brine, so you'll need a big pot in which to submerge the roast. Also, you'll have to plan ahead for soaking time - a day for poultry, 3 days for pork.

Chez Panisse Brine
2 1/2 gal. of cold water
2 c kosher salt (table salt works well, too)
1 c sugar
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
1 bunch fresh thyme, or 4 T dried thyme
1 whole head of garlic, peeled
5 whole allspice berries, crushed
4 juniper berries, crushed

Prepare the brine and soak: place the water in a large pot that can easily hold the liquid and the meat you intend to brine. Add all the ingredients and stir for a minute or so until the sugar and salt to dissolve. Refrigerate poultry in brine for 24 hours; pork for 3 days. If the meat floats to the top, use a plate or other weight to keep it completely submerged in the brine.

To roast: Poultry - stuff cavity with desired herbs (chicken: onions, lemon wedges, herbs such as thyme, parsley, rosemary/ turkey: lemons, herbs, onions of desired). Rub the skin with oil to help browning; sprinkle with fresh pepper - salt is not needed due to the salt in the brine. Cook uncovered in a 400-degree oven until done (about 1 hr 15 min for a 3-4 lb chicken or 12-15 minutes per pound for a turkey). Boneless pork roast: Sprinkle the roast with pepper and herbs such as sage, thyme or tarragon,if desired. Roast uncovered in a 400-degree oven for about 12-15 minutes per pound.

I only did a large turkey breast, so there was no cavity. Instead, I just shoved lemon quarters in various places around the breast. Same with the rosemary. The turkey is so incredibly tender and juicy! The "chef" who shared the bring on said that it should really help keep the "leftovers" wonderfully fresh and moist.


Dominion Family said...

I am going to try to brine my turkey this year but I just bought the Williams Sonoma seasonings. I am not too brave.

DebD said...

Ooh, I have a brine recipe I use to make Roasted chicken but I've never used it on a turkey because I don't have a bucket big enough! I'm hoping to try and rig something together this year. Thanks for the recipe it helps so I don't have to convert the chicken one to use on a 14lb turkey.

DebD said...

I figured out how to do my brine and I thought I'd share. In one of the vegetables drawers (cleaned of course). It fits just fine.

Thanks to an commenter who suggested this. I used a slighly modified recipes from the one you shared here. Here's hoping.