By: Laura Bruner | My Radical Roots
Brined Holiday Turkey Recipe
We love the turkeys we get from US Wellness Meats, where we know the birds had space to roam wide open pastures, making for juicy and flavorful meat free of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, added growth hormones, and GMOs.
You can also usually get one from a local farmer you know and trust. Knowing our bird lived a happy life gives us extra gratitude for the turkey that will nourish us and the farmer who raised it. We talk to Evie about the bird, its life, and the gratitude we have for the way it nourishes us. Whole Foods or your local natural market will carry birds, too! This is a great chance to ask questions about sourcing that will push for awareness and better options for all. If you can, look for words like “pastured,” “free range,” “humane certified,” and “organic” when turkey shopping.
Note we’ll do one turkey this year and then use pastured chickens for the other holiday meals. This process works GREAT for chickens, too. Just alter the amount of bring (half it) and your cooking time. Easy button version!
Now, no turkey is worth spending all day preparing and roasting without the most amazing turkey brine! So here is the simple brine we use every year.
What you’ll need…
- 12-14 lb turkey
- 4 tablespoons sea salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons each of whole cloves, fennel seeds, star anise, peppercorns, nutmeg
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 sprig each of fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 1 bottle dry resiling
- 14 cups filtered water
- Bring 4 cups of water to a low boil, add sea salt, and bring heat down to low.
- Toast any whole spices in a dry skillet, then crush coarsely and add to water along with honey, bay leaves, and fresh herbs.
- Once salt is dissolved, remove it from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
- Pour into a large 12-quart stock pot, add remaining water, wine, and zest, and stir.
- Add turkey, cover, and let sit in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
No one likes a dry turkey, so here is a foolproof plan for the juiciest, crispiest, most flavorful turkey ever.
What you need:
- Brined turkey, patted dry
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for a final drizzle
- 1/2 tablespoon orange zest
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 pressed garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 tablespoon sea salt, plus extra for a final sprinkle
- Pre-heat the oven to 430˚F (on the bake, not convection), with the oven rack at the bottom (or second from bottom)
- Mash all ingredients (except your turkey) with a fork until well combined, ensuring you continue mashing and stirring until the lemon juice and butter combine (patience, friends).
- Gently separate the skin from the turkey breast by pushing your fingers under the skin, from front to back.
- Stuff 2/3 of the butter mixture under the skin, then spread the butter around by massaging over the top with your hands.
- Rub the remaining mixture over the outside of the turkey, drizzle a little more olive oil all over, and give it one more sprinkle of sea salt everywhere.
- Stuff the quartered onion, 4 halved garlic cloves, 1/2 bunch parsley, and quartered lemon inside the turkey and tie turkey legs together.
- Start roasting uncovered at 430˚F for 20 min, then remove from oven, and baste with butter from the bottom of the dish (a spoon works fine here).
- Reduce oven to 350˚F and bake for another 2 hours 30 min for a 12 lb bird (it’ll be about 13 min for every pound of turkey).
- Check the with a meat thermometer, and you’ll know it’s ready when the thigh is 170˚F and the breast is 160˚F.
- Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and cover loosely with foil to rest for at least 1 hour.
- Carve, serve, and ENJOY along with these holiday favorites….
Discover the secret to making this holiday season truly unforgettable! Check out our Discover Blog for the most fantastic recipe tips and tricks. We are committed to helping you achieve good health and happiness. Our animals eat right, so you can too! ~The USWM Team
Hi! I am Laura, a certified nutrition consultant, Level 3 CrossFit Trainer, cohost of the Modern Mamas Podcast, and mama to Evie Wilder and Indie Bo. I find the most joy adventuring in nature with my family, baking wild fermented sourdough, creating fun deeply nourishing recipes, training for strength and functionality in life, and taking time for daily mindful movement. I put family first always and continually seek to prioritize presence, maintain a growth mindset, remember my worthiness, and continue to seek joy. I hope to help others do the same through my work.