Recipe Collection: Brined, Slow-Roasted Turkey |

Recipe Collection: Brined, Slow-Roasted Turkey

admin November 29, 2012

For Thanksgiving this year, I tried out a brined, slow-roasted turkey.  Everyone agreed it was amazing.

Although Thanksgiving is now over, there’s still Christmas coming.  And perhaps you want to make a turkey for it.  Or perhaps you just want to make a turkey because it is awesome.  Or, you know, there’s always next year. 🙂

Try this.  It is soooooooo good.

Brined, Slow-Roasted Turkey


  • 1 15 – 20 lb. turkey
  • 1 – 2 gallons of filtered water (can sub some chicken stock)
  • 1 c. sea salt
  • 1/3 c. sucanat
  • 2 – 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. sage leaves
  • 1 tsp. marjoram leaves
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorns (or 2 tsp. ground pepper)
  • Butter
  • Sea salt


Use 1 – 2 quarts of water or stock and bring it a boil.  I didn’t have any stock on hand, so I went with water.  It was plenty flavorful.

water boiling

Add your sea salt and sucanat.

sea salt

Stir to combine thoroughly.

brine started

Add your spices (through black pepper).


Pour your brine into a big pot.

brine in pot

Add your turkey to the pot.  Yes, mine was a little bigger than it should have been for this pot, but I didn’t have anything else.  Mine is almost 20 lbs.  I put mine breast-side down so the normally drier white meat would get thoroughly brined.

turkey in pot

Add extra water to your pot until it is nearly full.  Ideally the turkey will be completely submerged…or at least mostly, as in my case.

pot full of water

If yours is completely submerged, you can add a lot of ice to it and let it sit out overnight, about 12 hours.  The salt and the cold water will keep the turkey fresh and bacteria at bay.  I put mine in the fridge instead for about 2 days.

Remove your turkey from the pot after it has been sitting in the brine at least 12 hours.  I scrubbed my sink with soap just before I dumped it in.

turkey in sink

Rinse your turkey off.  All the spices should be gone, because they will burn if you roast it with the spices on top.  However, the flavor from the spices is now in the meat.

Let your turkey sit in the sink for 1 – 2 hours (or on a rack nearby, with towels underneath) to drain.  It needs to be fairly dry.

Stuff your turkey if you are planning to.  I did.  Then put it in a big roasting pan, or into a stand-alone roaster.  I used my roaster so that I could keep my oven free for other baking.  Dot it with butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

Turn the oven or roaster to 200 and let your turkey go 15 – 18 hours.  You will want to start this the night before you plan to eat.

(Naturally I forgot to take any pictures of this last part.  Sigh.)

Let it go and resist wanting to check it too often.  I got impatient towards the end and turned mine up to 350 in the last hour or so of roasting so it would be done faster and also brown a bit more.  Even though it didn’t look very brown on top at the end (see the top picture) it was definitely done!  Plus deliciously moist. 🙂

Carve the bird, and save the drippings.  I got nearly 8 cups from my 20-lb. turkey, and I made all of it into gravy for future meals.  The gravy is so delicious.

Then serve!  And enjoy. 🙂  Several people mentioned how good the turkey was multiple times.  And it was.  Even the leftovers were awesome and not the slightest bit dry.

How do you cook your turkey?


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  1. We put our turkey in a clean 5-gallon bucket with lots of ice and kept it in a car all night–worked beautifully! We were traveling and didn’t have an enclosed garage but that was my original plan. It stayed cold and safe all night–we were in a northern state with cold overnight temps. There was still ice in the morning and the salt kept me from worrying about any danger from bacteria.


  2. Looks good! I’m planning on buying an on sale heritage farmed turkey that didn’t get picked up from my local health food store (hopefully they have as many this year as last!). I think I’ll brine and slow roast it as well. 🙂 One question/clarification: I’m assuming your roasting this covered? If I was roasting this in a covered roasting pan in my oven, about when would you recommend removing the cover for browning?


    • Mine is covered only because it’s in a separate roaster oven. I wouldn’t cover it if I made it in the “real” oven.


  3. Two questions for you–1) was this a pastured turkey? If so, I’ll definitely be excited to try this recipe. The pastured birds I’ve fixed we’re too dry. 2) is there any concern over bacteria developing since it is cooking at such a low temperature for so long? How do you weigh the risk factor? Thanks!


    • Yes, a pastured turkey. 🙂 There’s some concern about bacteria but I don’t worry about it if it’s pastured and if it cooks until the internal temp is safe.


  4. Another thing to make it amazing is to put a mixture of melted butter and herbs under the skin of the turkey. It’s REALLY awkward to shove your arm in between a turkey and its skin up to the elbow…but it will be amazing even above and beyond the brining. I’m a briner myself, so you’re preaching to the choir here!


  5. This looks awesome! When you go to start the turkey in the brine, should it be frozen, thawed, or partially thawed?


  6. […] used this recipe from Kate for my turkey and it was great!  Because I cooked mine in the oven, I think next time […]


  7. I am using this recipe again this year!! We loved it last year! I am curious this time around, is there such a thing as too long in the brine? I bought my turkey early this year and am debating if I want to freeze it since I know it will take so long to thaw, but feel like a week in the brine would be overkill… What do you think?


  8. […] Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey with Herbed Butter @ Real Food Whole Health Amazingly Moist Turkey @ Simply Rebekah Best Turkey Ever @ Raia’s Recipes Turkey Brine @ Wellness Mama Brined, Slow-Roasted Turkey […]


  9. Omg 15-18 hours is a long time to cook!
    How can I just the cooking time for a smaller turkey? Ours is about 10 1/2 pounds.


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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