Just in time! How to brine a Turkey and save Thanksgiving dinner!


Are you tired of complaints of overcooked and dried out turkey that you serve year after year for Thanksgiving dinner?  If so, have no fear for Chef Pete is here (along with The Food Network Star Chef Alton Brown) to save this year’s turkey.  For many Thanksgivings, Chef Pete has used Chef Brown’s recipe and cooking methods to brine, prepare, and cook the holiday turkey. By following Chef Brown’s methods and recipe, you will become your family’s “Star Chef”.

For over 5 years, the below recipe has been one of the top viewed recipes on TheFoodNetwork.Com. Along with the thousands of other reviewers, I also have given it a 5 Star Ranking.



Food Network

Good Eats Roast Turkey


Prep Time:  15 min
Inactive Prep Time: 7 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 2 hr 30 min
Serves:10 to 12 servings
  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil



Click here to view videos on how it’s done.


2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.



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3 Responses to Just in time! How to brine a Turkey and save Thanksgiving dinner!

  1. Ice Queen says:

    Chef Pete – this is how I’ve been cooking turkeys for the past 4 years, and they are (if I may say so myself) the best turkeys I’ve ever had. I hope that my mother, the Ice Queen Mother, doesn’t take offense to that… 🙂

    Thanks for the link, and your assistance in ridding the world of dry turkey!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. pollyanna says:

    Ice Queen–maybe your mother should take some notes from Chef Pete and yourself!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. porklovers says:

    Chef Pete – it better be good or I am coming to get you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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