Brine, Stuff, Truss & Roast... then serve and enjoy

There are many methods to cook a turkey,

my personal favourite is brining. Brine usually refers to water saturated with salt that is used to preserve food, such as when making pickles. When brining poultry, the goal is not to pickle them, but rather to prep them for cooking; by getting them all moist and plump while helping them absorb other flavours usually included in the brine. The brine is therefore a water bath of flavours and  aromatics – together with salt, which aids the absorption process – in which a turkey is placed and left to soak.

Brining usually results in the moistest turkey, and it aids the browning process. Brined Turkeys usually come out fabulously evenly browned. The aromatic contents of the brine, are really open to your creativity. Think of combinations that go together, and of the overall flavour. I have chosen to go with apple, maple, cinnamon and cloves with hints of orange for mine, because all these spell Christmas to me. You can go for any combination you like.


This recipe is based on a 5kg bird (about 10 lb), adjust the quantities and cooking time according to the weight of your bird.

For Brine

  • 1 10 lb whole Turkey
  • 5 liters water
  • 1 liter Apple Juice
  • 200 ml maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf

For Aromatics stuffing

  • 1 large brown onion, quartered
  • 2 Oranges, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, bashed to release aromas
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 thyme springs
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt & Black pepper to taste

Place all contents of the brine, except for the actual turkey in a large container. The container should be large enough to fit your brine and turkey as well as fit in the fridge. Stir all the ingredients for the sugar to dissolve. Set aside.

Clean the cavity of the bird, and remove any left feathers on the wings or legs… and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Pat dry the turkey, inside and outside and place, flesh side down in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry. Place the turkey, flesh side up on a wire wrack in a roasting pan.  Place the aromatics stuffing inside the cavity of the turkey, if any are left over and can’t fit inside, place them next to the turkey on the wire rack.

Truss the turkey with butcher’s string (watch the video to learn how).

Once done, sprinkle the cooking oil lightly on the turkey and rub all over to coat.


Sprinkle the turkey with salt shavings and freshly cracked black pepper. Cover loosely with foil and roast in 325F oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the foil, and continue roasting for 30-45 minutes more until the golden brown, and thermometer registers 170F.

Once done, remove the turkey from the oven, cover it loosely with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before serving or carving.

Signs that turkey is done: 

  1. Golden brown colour, the drumsticks can move easily in their socket, and juices run clear.
  2. An instant meat thermometer inserted in the innermost of the thigh without touching the bone or the roasting tin registers 170F.



 Merry Christmas to all of you <3

You may also like…