Say NO to dry Turkey! Make your Thanksgiving Turkey the best ever with this delicious Citrus & Herb Turkey Brine Recipe. Plus the Top Tips for juicy white meat!
Thanksgiving is fast approaching and that means it is time to start finding great tips to have the most amazing Thanksgiving Turkey!
Turkey was never my favorite bird to enjoy. I always thought it was dry and didn’t have a very enjoyable flavor. That is until a few years ago, I attended an amazing Homemaking meeting that really opened my eyes! We learned to how to turkey brine! And oh my goodness, my world shifted!
I had never even heard of a turkey brine before this homemaking meeting. So it really blew my tastebuds and opened them to a whole new world of amazing! Once you brine a turkey you will never go back!
**This post was originally published November 11, 2013, but I have learned tricks since then and updated to reflect how to have an even more amazingly moist Turkey using this Turkey Brine Recipe! **
The Magic of a Turkey Brine
At the end of the Thanksgiving Tips meeting, we all got to taste a freshly roasted turkey that the instructor had marinated in a turkey brine the day before and roasted up that day.
It was as though the Foodie angels started the Hallelujah chorus right there in my mouth! Never in my life had I ever tasted a turkey where even the white meat was savory and juicy!
I’m talking juices bursting in your mouth and running down your fingers ya’ll!
Moist juices on my face From the Turkey Breast!!
That week I bought myself a little Turkey and practiced right away so I wouldn’t forget what I learned. I altered the Turkey brine recipe just slightly from the instructor to have even more flavor. It worked so well that I shared it with my Mother-in-law.
Ever since then, whenever anyone in the family roasts up a Turkey, we all have to use this Citrus & Herb turkey brine recipe. It is amazing and produces the best turkey we have ever tasted! I won’t ever roast a turkey without a turkey brine ever again! The difference is like night and day!
I want you to have the most amazing turkey you’ve ever tasted on your table this Thanksgiving!
Don’t let this overwhelm you. It truly is insanely easy to brine a turkey and roast to perfection! The hardest part is simply being patient from all the amazing aromas that will fill your home!
Thanksgiving Turkey tips and turkey brine recipe
There are four basic steps to preparing a Thanksgiving Turkey and have it come out amazing. If you are tired of dry white meat, lack of flavor and would like to see the left-overs disappear like candy; then just follow these tips and you will watch your Thanksgiving Turkey become the most popular item on the Thanksgiving table!
Step 1. Thaw the turkey. Obviously. Make sure it is well thawed before you even begin. This means you can’t wait until last minute to thaw the Thanksgiving Turkey.
To complete all the steps on this list you actually need to thaw the turkey at least 2 days ahead of time. To thaw your Thanksgiving Turkey you can thaw it in the refrigerator for 1-2 days prior to prepping.
Or you can thaw in a bath of cold water in the kitchen sink. You need to change out the water every 1/2 hour and keep it cold. Never leave it to thaw on the kitchen counter.
Step 2: Remove the giblets
Step 3 Prepare the turkey for roasting. This includes a turkey brine recipe (which I will get to in a minute). After you brine the turkey, then brush the skin with our Turkey seasoned Herb butter.
This is a simple butter that is made of up with herbs and butter that will add to the amazing turkey flavor. This year try our super simple herb butter recipe.
Secret Moist Turkey Hack: Did you know that if you roast your turkey upsidedown your turkey breast will be juicier? Not even kidding, it works! I always roast my turkey upsidedown now. The difference is astonishing.
Now if you are going to roast your turkey upside down, be sure to not use a wired rack in your roasting pan. This will leave an indention and odd roasting marks on your turkey. Unless you don’t care how your turkey looks.
Step 4: Roast your turkey at 325 degrees. You will roast your turkey for 15 minutes for every pound of turkey. Check with your meat thermometer that your Thanksgiving turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees.
If the turkey begins to get too brown, cover the turkey lightly with a tin foil tent; and then remove the tin foil tent for the last 30-45 minutes of cooking.
Remove your turkey from the oven 5-10 degrees below done (as your turkey will continue to cook while resting 10-20 minutes before serving).
Don’t forget, for extra juicy white meat, roast your turkey upside down; with the breast at the bottom. It really does work amazing!
Citrus & Herb Turkey Brine recipe
There are several options when it comes to a turkey brine. One of my favorites is this Citrus & Herb Turkey Brine recipe. You can play with the ingredients a little, if you don’t have both apple and orange juice, you can substitute the other with the juice that you do have. This Citrus & Herb brine will get you into the world of turkey brine recipes and get you hooked.
- 1.5 cups salt
- 1.5 cups brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke
- 1 Tablespoon AllSpice Berries Crushed (ground allspice also works if you don't have berries)
- 2 Tablespoons sage
- 1 Teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Granulated onion
- 1 Tablespoon crushed Cloves
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper
- 4 oz. Frozen Apple Juice Concentrate
- 4 oz. Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
- 2-3 quarts water
- Combine all ingredients except water into a stock pan on medium heat.
- Add 2 quarts water and stir
- Warm until the salt and sugar is dissolved
- Allow to cool.
- Pour over turkey in brining bag or brining pan.
- Add enough extra water to ensure the Turkey will be submerged in the brine.
- Refrigerate 12-24 hours.
- Rinse Turkey thoroughly before roasting
- Roast as usual.
To brine a turkey is really simple. The hardest part is simply getting a container big enough to hold the turkey and brine solution.
You can use large Oven Bags to hold the turkey & Brine mixture. They also make Brining Bags. And if you can’t find any of those, we have even brined our turkey in a clean trash bag. Yes, the cheap black trash bags!
After you double up the bags, roll down the edges to help keep the bags open and keep the walls of the bag up. Place the bags in a shallow roasting pan (just in case it leaks it can catch the liquid) Then add your turkey, breast side down. You want the breast to be submerged in the brine.
Fill with the Turkey brine liquid.
Then close the inner bag as closely around the bag as possible. Twist it and then secure closed with a twist tie. Then repeat the same with the outer Oven Bag. Then refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
Make sure after you brine a turkey that you rinse the turkey very well. And I mean really well!
If you don’t thoroughly rinse the turkey brine from your Thanksgiving turkey it will turn out tough and dry with extra salty spots.
Bake as directed in the recipe.
To keep the kids entertained while you are waiting for the Turkey to roast, make a fun edible Apple Turkey Craft!
Thanksgiving Turkey Carving Tips
Finally, the last Turkey tip is how to easily carve your Thanksgiving turkey.
You first start with the legs. Find the joint and cut the leg off.
Follow suit with the wings. Set aside.
Now start at the top of the turkey at the ridge and carve downward. Slice across the grain (cutting horizontally toward the center of the turkey) to make slices of turkey. If you don’t cut across the grain of the turkey; it will cause all the juices to escape and you will end up with yet another dry Thanksgiving Turkey!
If you need a visual on how to carve a turkey, I highly recommend checking out this awesome How to Carve a Turkey video on the Fine Cooking website. It really makes it easy to understand, and has some great tips to make carving your Thanksgiving Turkey a lot easier!
Now, don’t wait for the Thanksgiving Turkey to give this a try!
The best thing I did was to try a Test Turkey a week before Thanksgiving. Seriously you should do this your first year. It’s like doing a test run before the big day. Because you don’t want to mess up on the big Thanksgiving feast!
Get a small turkey and practice all these steps to ensure you know what you will be doing with your Thanksgiving Turkey! Brine your turkey and roast it. Then practice carving your turkey. This way you will be ready come Thanksgiving Day!
For even more Thanksgiving Turkey tips; visit Finecooking.com! Oh, my goodness; they have some amazing videos to help you along your way, plus extraordinary recipes!
Want more turkey fun? Try making our DIY Turkey Tulle Wreath to greet your holiday guests as they arrive!
May your Thanksgiving Turkey be full of flavor and moisture this Thanksgiving Holiday!
Good luck and let me know how well it turns out!