Citrus-brined Roast Turkey

Adapted by
Yield: 6 servings


5 gallons water
5 cups salt
10 cups brown sugar
5 tablespoons allspice, crushed
20 cloves
8 tablespoons coriander, crushed
5 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 bunches fresh thyme, washed
2 heads garlic, cut in half
5 oranges, cut in half
5 lemons, cut in half
1 fresh turkey, about 14 pounds, depending on size of dinner


Pour the water in a large stock pot. Add the salt and sugar and set aside. Place the allspice, cloves, coriander, black pepper, thyme, and garlic in a cheesecloth and tie with a string.
Add the cheesecloth, oranges, and lemons to the water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes until fragrant. Cool the brine down to at least 40 F prior to brining. When ready to marinate, pour brine over the turkey and marinate at least 12 hours in refrigerator.

Discard the brine after use. Dry the bird completely prior to roasting. Put the bird back into the refrigerator to dry out completely and form a pellicle on the skin (this enhances browning). Remove the turkey from the fridge 4 hours before roasting. Prior to roasting, preheat the oven to at least 325°F. You can optionally smear butter on the outside of the turkey to further enhance browning, or inject softened butter under the skin so it fries from both sides and bastes the meat internally (bread crumbs can be added to the butter to help hold it in place). The butter should be put in a piping bag to distribute under the skin; when lifting the skin, be careful not to tear it. Tie off the turkey prior to roasting. Roast until the breast reaches an internal temperature of 160 to 165°F. Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for 2 hours to preserve juices upon carving.