Simple Brined and Roasted Turkey
Biltmore Reserve Pinot Noir
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Hotel Chef David Ryba says it’s amazing the difference that brining your bird makes! Try his techniques for a moist and succulent turkey.
Preparation Time: Brining 8–24 hours; 4½ hours cooking
- 1 18–20 pound turkey
- 2 gallons water
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons yellow or brown mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 12 cloves fresh garlic
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 brined turkey
- 1 stick unsalted butter melted
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Butcher’s twine
You will need a heavy-duty plastic brining bag and an ice chest large enough to hold a 20 lb. turkey. In a four-quart sauce pot, combine 2 quarts of water, vinegar, sugar and next 6 ingredients. Simmer 5 minutes, making sure that salt and sugar have dissolved, and let cool to room temperature. Crush garlic cloves. Fill quarter of ice chest with ice. Place turkey in bag along with cooled salt-water mixture, garlic, thyme, and remaining water. Tie securely and cover with as much ice as cooler will hold, packing around sides and top. Let brine overnight and up to 24 hours.
You will need butcher’s twine and a roasting rack. Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare a roasting pan and roasting rack. Remove turkey from brine, pat dry with paper towels, and place in a roasting pan, breast side up. Let stand at room temperature 45–60 minutes. Brush all over with butter and season liberally with salt and pepper, including inside the cavity. Tuck wings under turkey and tie legs together with twine.
Cook 2 ½–3 hours, basting every 30 minutes, until internal temperature of 165°F is achieved in thickest part of dark meat. Let rest 30 minutes before carving.