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herb brined Thanksgiving turkey

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time1 d 14 hrs 35 mins
Course: Thanksgiving
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Heather Serody


  • free-range organic turkey 12-16 pounds
  • Coarse Celtic or pink Himalayan sea salt 1/2 tsp per pound of turkey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • zest of 1 lemon for the brine
  • 2 big handfuls of fresh thyme sprigs leaves stripped & roughly chopped (1 for brine & 1 for cooking)
  • 1 big handful of fresh rosemary sprigs leaves stripped & roughly chopped
  • handful of fresh sage leaves roughly chopped
  • 12  fresh garlic cloves peeled & smashed with a knife (6 for the brine & 6 for cooking)
  • 12 ounces of organic turkey stock - day of cooking
  • 1 C dry white wine day of cooing
  • 3 large white onions peeled and quartered (day of cooking)
  • 1 stick of melted unsalted butter day of cooking
  • 3-5   dried bay leaves day of cooking
  • 1 lemon quartered (day of cooking)



  • Remove any giblets from the turkey. Rinse the turkey & pat completely dry (do not skip this step) with a paper towel. 
  • Place the salt, pepper, herbs, 6 of the garlic cloves, and zest in a bowl and mix together with a fork. 
  • Rub the turkey all over outside & inside the body cavity with herb, garlic & salt mixture.
  • Transfer the turkey to a resealable plastic brining bag. Push air out of the bag and seal.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 3 days, turning the bird over at least once every day.
  • 7  hours prior to cooking, remove the turkey from the brining bag and pat dry with paper towels. Most of the herbs & salt will come off the turkey, this is fine.
  • Make space in the refrigerator. Place the turkey, uncovered on top of a paper towel on a roasting pan or cookie sheet in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to dry out the skin. This is so that the skin will crisp during cooking. 
  • 1.5 hours prior to cooking, remove the turkey from the refrigerator to allow it to come to room temperature. 
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. In the bottom of a large roasting pan, add the stock and wine to fill the pan to at least a 1/4-inch depth. Generously rub the turkey all over with melted butter.
  • Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set inside the roasting pan. Scatter the onions around the turkey.
  • Quarter the lemon & microwave for 45 seconds - 1 minute, or until hot. Stuff the remaining 6 garlic cloves, bunch of thyme, Bay leaves, & hot lemon quarters & juice, inside the turkey cavity. Transfer pan to the oven and roast 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, the turkey breast should be lightly golden all over, then loosely cover the turkey with aluminum foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh reaches a temperature of 165 degrees, about 1&1/2 to 2&1/4 hours more. 
  • Transfer turkey to a cutting board to rest, covered with foil for at least 15-30 minutes before carving. 
  • Tip: while the turkey rests, make the pan gravy


Serving: 6oz.