Our Citrus and Herb Turkey Brine recipe turned out scrumptious. The turkey was tender, juicy and full of flavor. There were no leftovers. We know to buy a larger turkey next year!
This recipe for Citrus & Herb Brine to roast our Thanksgiving Turkey was created by my youngest daughter who is the turkey roasting guru in our family.
Tiffany likes to season food with citrus and herb combinations. The recipe is easily adjustable depending on the predominate flavor you prefer. You can tailor your brine accordingly.
WHAT TO BRINE YOUR LARGE TURKEY IN
- Use a clean food safe 5 gallon bucket like you can buy from Firehouse Subs.
- We used the giant pot that goes with our outdoor fish cooker
- Over-sized disposable and resealable plastic bags like these (affiliate)
If your turkey is too large for the refrigerator use one of these tricks:
- Sit the pot inside another large container and pour ice around the bottom of the pot.
- If your temps are cool enough outside, cover the top of the pot and sit it on a porch or a safe outdoor location overnight. If you live in bear country, don’t do this!
We had cold temps so ours was sat outside on the deck on top of the patio table overnight with a well secured covering.
Tif likes to juice a few lemons and oranges to add the juice to the brine. You could use whatever you have as a strainer to prevent the seeds from getting into the juice.
Printable Recipe below.
Do you see the turkey buried underneath all of those yummy flavors marinating in the brine?
The turkey goes into the container followed by the brine. Add additional tap water if needed.
Citrus & Herb Turkey Brine Ingredients
- 3 Oranges
- 3 Lemons
- 2 Onions
- 1 Garlic
- 1 bunch fresh Rosemary
- Fresh Thyme
- 3-4 stalks fresh Celery
Throw away the brine when you remove the turkey for roasting. Do not use brine which had raw meat in it.
Time to get the turkey ready for roasting!
Prepare your turkey for stuffing. Here in the south, when we say we are going to stuff the turkey, we mean with fruits and vegetables. Notice in the photo below how those delicious additions of flavor are spilling out of the perfectly roasted bird.
Here is my Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe complete with a video of me preparing it for a large crowd.
TURKEY COOKING TIPS
Roll out a generous amount of plastic wrap to cover your work surface as seen above. Once you’re done, it rolls up onto itself for easy clean up!
Bake at 325° (you want to bake the turkey low and long)
Place the turkey breast side up in the roasting pan preferably on a rack. If you do not have a rack you can use balled up foil or large fresh vegetables like whole carrots to rest the turkey on.
When the turkey is getting nearly done, cover with foil to prevent the skin from getting too dark as the meat continues to cook.
Turkey is done when internal temperature reaches 180°
Always allow your turkey to rest at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving! That will give you time to snap some pics to share on Instagram anyway. Tag me on Instagram! I’d like to see your turkey!
Always reserve several pieces of fruit to adorn the serving platter. This Citrus & Herb Brined Roasted Turkey disappeared completely. There were no leftovers.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The special time with family and friends is what I look forward to all year. We all have our favorite dishes but nothing beats the time we spend enjoying relaxed conversation with family.
- 3 Oranges, cut up
- 3 Lemons, juiced
- 2 Onions, peeled and cut
- 1 Garlic, minced
- 1 bunch fresh Rosemary
- 1 Fresh Thyme bunch
- 3-4 stalks fresh Celery
- 1 Cup Kosher Salt
- ½ Cup sugar
- 2 Qts. Water
- 1 16-18 lb. Turkey thawed
- 1 Over-sized resealable bag or large cooler
- 2 Sticks Unsalted butter at room temperature
Remove the parts and organs usually wrapped inside the turkey. Reserve for making gravy.
In a large stock pot, add 2 quarts of water, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and add the herbs.
Allow the water to cool to room temperature.
While the brine is cooling, place the washed turkey into the container you plan to brine it in and surround it with ice.
After the brine has cooled, pour it into the container with the turkey.
Now add all of the prepared herbs and fruits into the brine and seal the bag or close the lid.
Add additional tap water to cover the turkey if necessary.
Allow the turkey to brine for about 8 to 12 hours. Check occasionally with a thermometer to make sure the temperature of the water does not exceed 38°-40°. If it does, add ice in plastic resealable bags so it doesn’t dilute the brine.
Roasting the Turkey
Preheat the oven to 325°
Drain and pat the turkey dry.
Place the turkey breast side up into a large roasting pan with a rack.
Using your hands, you can wear disposable gloves, coat the outside of the turkey well with the butter.
Place your turkey into the oven uncovered.
Bake at 325° for approximately 3 ½ to 4 hours. Oven temperatures vary.
When the turkey is about ⅔ of the way done, (about 1 hour of cooking time remaining) cover loosely with foil tent to prevent over browning.
Remove from the oven when Temperature reaches 180° when tested in the breast.
Allow the turkey to rest for about 20 minutes prior to carving.
We used an outdoor fish cooker pot to brine the turkey. It was very cold outside so we were able to leave it out overnight covered. You could also use a big cooler or purchase over-sized plastic resealable bags like these (affiliate) for the purpose which you can then sit inside of a cooler.
Keeping a check on the temperature of the turkey as it bakes is much easier if you use an oven safe meat thermometer like this (affiliate)