Pioneer woman turkey brine

Pioneer woman turkey brine DEFAULT

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First you need a turkey! I brine my turkey; Here is my homemade turkey brine recipe, along with brining instructions.

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it under cold water. After that, fill the sink with cold water and soak the turkey for 15 to 20 minutes. This will remove any excess saltiness on/under the skin and just leave you with wonderfully brined, tender turkey.

Related: See my post on how to control saltiness after brining.

Next, place the oven rack is on its lowest level and preheat the oven to °F.

Place the turkey breast-side up in a roasting pan with a rack, tucking the wings underneath the body. Cross the legs and tie them with kitchen string to secure them.

Cover the turkey completely…

In heavy-duty aluminum foil, making sure the foil tucks under the pan. Then, for the first stage, roast the turkey for about 10 minutes per pound (so for a pound turkey, it would roast at this temperature for about 3½ hours).

While the turkey’s in the oven, make the rosemary-citrus butter. Use a vegetable peeler to slice off the peel of 1 orange.

With a very sharp knife, slice the peel into thin strips…

And throw them into a bowl with softened butter and rosemary.

Stir it a bit, then sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Set this aside until the turkey is finished with the first stage.

After the turkey has roasted for the first stage, remove the foil and smear the butter mixture all over the skin of the turkey. Note that because the turkey has been covered, it will still be very pale. That’s totally normal! It’s getting ready to get gorgeous here in a bit.

Get the butter mixture in all the crevices! Tickle it a little! Then insert a meat thermometer into the thigh of the turkey, raise the oven temperature to °F and put the turkey back into the oven, uncovered, basting it with the juices/butter in the bottom of the pan every 30 minutes.

Roast the turkey until the temperature registers °F. For a 20 pound turkey, this should take an additional 1 ½ to 2 hours. Keep basting it every 30 minutes during this stage so that the skin will turn a deep golden brown. (This turkey needed another 20 minutes or so to get totally done.)

Remove the turkey from the oven, cover it with foil, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Serve the turkey on a big, pretty platter with orange slices and greenery if you wanna be fancy.


Omit the citrus and add a combination of chopped herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme to the butter.

Use plain butter. Still totally delicious!


Start with a slice on either side of the breastbone…

Then slice on either side to loosen all the breast meat.

Next, just cut neat slices…

And lift ’em right out! (You could also remove the breast sections, then slice them on a cutting board.)

Then cut the drumsticks at the base . . .

And lift the leg to slice it off at the joint.

“I get one of the drumsticks!”

After that, just make your way around the turkey, grabbing as much of the white and dark meat as you can find. Arrange all the meat on a platter…or just serve it straight off the bird.

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I wanted to bring this old post to the forefront, as it’s my favorite turkey brine recipe ever, and because it’s—gulp—the week before Thanksgiving! What just happened?

We still have Halloween candy in our house. (Not sure how that’s possible.)

Be sure to read through all the instructions in the link below…but here are the highlights (in case you’re a skimmer, which I most certainly am!)

* Check your turkey label. Many frozen turkeys are injected with a sodium solution (essentially pre-brined), and it’s best if you can use a turkey that has not been pre-brined. I usually try to find a fresh turkey or an organic frozen one. (Though if you rinse thoroughly, you’ll probably be fine no matter what!)

* Add enough water to the brining bag or vessel to submerge the turkey.

* After brining, thoroughly rinse the turkey then submerge it in clean cold water for minutes, then rinse again.

* Your turkey is gonna be magificent!

My Favorite Turkey Brine of All Time

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It’s time.

It’s time for Thanksgiving dinner recipes.

I don’t care that it’s not even Halloween yet!

Oh, I know how it goes. Every year around this time, I think I have all this time to post Thanksgiving recipes on this little food blog of mine. I think, "It’s not even Halloween yet. I’ve got all the time in the world!" Then it happens. It’s the same every year. We dress up our children in Iron Man and Richard Nixon costumes, go trick-or-treating in our quaint little town, then by the time they’re on their last piece of candy—which is actually like twenty hours later—it’s suddenly Christmas. And I’m looking around my kitchen and my little food blog like, "Okay…what just happened?"

And then I ask my children if they have any candy left because I’m having a wicked sugar craving.

And they tell me to go bake a pie or something. Smart-alec little varmints.

Anyway, today I’m sharing my step-by-step method for brining a turkey. I brine a turkey every year. 

I brine a turkey every year because it’s the right thing to do. Brining involves soaking a turkey in a very salty solution for a certain length of time, long enough for the salt to infiltrate the turkey and actually alter the molecular structure of the meat. It doesn’t turn it into a salty mess, either. It just results in a juicy, fantastic turkey. If you’ve never brined a turkey, you’ll just have to trust me on this.

You can buy ready-made brining solutions. I used to buy one at Williams-Sonoma. But making one is a cinch, too. You basically need a bunch of salt and whatever other ingredients you want to throw in. I like to balance the saltiness with the mild sweetness of apple cider (and okay, the not-so-mild sweetness of brown sugar) but you can use whatever you’d like.

A couple of important things to remember, though.

1. Only brine fresh turkeys. Brining a frozen turkey is never a good idea, because frozen turkeys are most typically injected with a sodium solution. There are some organic frozen turkeys (my friend Julie found some at Whole Foods recently) that have a much lower concentration of the sodium solution. Generally speaking, though, you’ll want to brine fresh—not frozen—turkeys.

2. Making gravy from the drippings of a brined turkey can result in a really salty gravy if you’re not careful. In the next post, I’ll show you a few steps that will prevent this from happening.

But for now: Let’s brine!

Here’s what you need.

Cut off the top and bottom of each orange.

Carefully slice off the peel in sections.

Mmm. Fragrant to the max.

Strip the leaves off the rosemary sprigs, measure the salt, sugar, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Inhale. Exhale. Thank the Lord above for the aromas that spring forth from the earth.

At least that’s what I do every time I make this turkey brine.

(Oh, and you’ll need some minced garlic. I just forgot that step. Happens.)

Pour three cups of apple cider into a stock pot.

Add two gallons of water…

A cup and a half of salt…

Two cups of brown sugar…

Bay leaves…



And orange peel.

And the forgotten garlic.


Now, bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat and cover the pot. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature; feel free to stick it in the fridge or freezer halfway through the cooling down process

This is an alien hand (left) and a brining bag.

I’m obsessed with brining bags. Obsessed!

It’s all I think about anymore.

Here’s the turkey inside the brining bag.

Once the brine solution is cooled, pour it over the turkey.

Now you’ll just need to seal up the bag and refrigerate it for at least sixteen hours. Twenty-four hours is better, though, especially for a large turkey. Place the turkey, breast side down, in the bag, but 2/3 of the way through the brining, flip the turkey in the bag to make sure it brines evenly. Just pretend you’re an obstetrician and you’re trying to get a breach baby to flip!

Note: This is enough brine for a pound turkey. If you feel as though the turkey needs even more liquid, just top it off with more water and it’ll be fine. If you’re using a much smaller turkey or a turkey breast, just halve the recipe.

Next up: Roasting this dang thing. (Here are the turkey roasting instructions!)

The fun has only just begun.

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Woman turkey brine pioneer

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I indicated with a nod that he could go down. But my wife finally decided that the snow maiden lick her wet hole, and therefore only the girl who got out of bed had. To get to work again, but this did not last long, and I, in general, did not pay much attention to it, because for today it was pretty. I saw off the guests, with the words: Everything was great.

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