How to Cook the Perfect Turkey

My Favorite Turkey Brine Recipe

I have used this turkey brine time after time and it hasn’t failed me yet and it’s a fool proof way to steal the show in thanksgiving. By the way this is courtesy of everyone’s favorite southern cook, Rae Drummond( The Pioneer Woman,) she rocks and loves butter!! You can’t go wrong!


  • 3 cups of Apple Cider ( I use 2 cups of Apple Cider vinegar and 1.5 cups of Apple Cider)
  • 2 gallons of Cold water
  • 4 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 3 tbsp. peppercorns
  • 5 whole bay leaves
  • Peel of three oranges ( if you like citrus flavors then you can add in whole squeezed orange)


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Turn off heat, cover and allow the brine to cool completely. ( If you don’t have a pot big enough for 2 gallons of water, which I don’t, combine all the ingredients into 1 gallon of water then add the second gallon when you put pour into the brine bag, it still comes out great)
  2. Place the uncooked turkey in a large brining bag, pour in the brine solution to cover the turkey, and refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours. * another tip if the weather is cold enough I just place they brining turkey in a large cooler in my garage, don’t forget to flip it half way through brining if the liquid is not completely surrounding the turkey)
  3. Before roasting, remove the turkey from the brine and submerge the turkey in the sink filled with fresh, cold water for 15 minutes. * Don’t forget this step or you will have a salty bird
  4. Remove the turkey from the water, pat dry, and cook according to weight of turkey.

Cooking Instructions and Temperatures:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
  2. Truss the bird or tuck the legs and wings under
  3. Place the bird, breast-side up on a rack in a large roasting pan
  4. Cover the pan with heavy-duty foil ( make sure it is well sealed)
  5. Roast the turkey for 10 minutes per pound. ( so for a 16 lb. Ho-Ka, 2 hours and 66 minutes or 3 hours should do)
  6. After 3 hours remove the turkey, and bump up the oven temp to 375 degrees F. While you wait for the oven to come to temp make a butter mix to rub all over the turkey. ( Butter-2 sticks, chopped fresh rosemary-3-4tbs, orange zest julienned- about 3 tbsp)
  7. Rub butter mix all over the bird, getting in all the crevices. Insert a thermometer into the thigh, place turkey back into the oven uncovered until the internal temperature is 165 degrees( this takes time 1-1 1/2 hours, depending on size)
  8. Set your timer to check and baste your bird every 20-30 minutes.
  9. Once internal temp is 165, remove, let set for a bit under a foil tent and slice.
  10. Perfect every time!!

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