Citrus Brined Roasted Turkey

A few weeks ago, my brother wrote a guest column for me in the Southeast Valley Ledger.  He gave us pointers around brining your turkey along with a recipe.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking, via the process of osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked.” 

We typically brine our turkey and this year, we followed his recipe.  It was delicious and we enjoyed a juicy, flavorful turkey at our Thanksgiving table.  Do you brine your turkey?  I’d love to hear different approaches to your brining techniques!  This recipe calls for 2 days of brining – plan ahead!


Citrus Brined Roasted Turkey
Recipe provided by Scott Leisure of Leisure Cooking

2 cups kosher salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
Rough cut springs of rosemary
Rough cut sprigs of thyme
10 peppercorns
4 oranges, halved
4 lemons, halved
3 (or more) smashed garlic cloves
2 1/2 gallons ice water
1/2 gallon cold water

Dissolve the kosher salt and sugar in 1/2 gallon of cold water by bringing it to a boil.  Transfer to a 5 gallon bucket and add 2 1/2 gallons of ice water.  Add the rosemary and thyme to the solution.  Squeeze the oranges and lemons into it and add the spent fruit as well.  Finish by adding the peppercorns and smashed garlic into the brine.


Start the bird brining breast side down in the bucket.  If you live in a colder climate, you can usually keep this in the garage, but for those of us in warmer climates – you’ll need some space in a refrigerator.  After 1 day, flip the bird.  When ready to roast, rinse and pat dry.  Follow instructions on the turkey packaging for cooking times based on the weight.



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