Lemony, Roasted Brined Turkey

Sorry the pic is blurry--relied on iPhone

Oh. My. Turkey.

This is noteworthy: You can officially roast a turkey while a 1L. In fact, you can officially participate in the greatest fake thanksgiving feast known to man and have an amazing time forgetting about finals. Apparently, it is still possible to have fun in law school.

My friend Merey and I got it into our heads that what our friends  really needed was a fake Thanksgiving. Having just completed a draft of our  hated memos and suffering from complete and total burnout, we wanted something that was a promise of good things to come. Where better to turn than Thanksgiving? So we embarked on a mission, enlisted our friends, and the MOST EPIC of all dinners resulted.

To say I am proud of my friends is a gross understatement. Everyone contributed and everything was deeeelish (there was even pumpkin pie from scratch–i.e. no canned pumpkin!). If any of you are reading today’s post, consider this an invitation to guest blog and share your recipe.  And, Brad, here’s your official shout-out: you make a mean mashed.

Anyway, I wound up on turkey duty. The recipe is based off of the roasted brined turkey recipe Megan referenced in her Thanksgiving post and that my friend Sam also recommended. I couldn’t find certain ingredients and had to improvise, but the result was incredibly moist and flavorful. Hope this helps as you plan your menu!

Happy eating!

Lemony, Roasted Brined Turkey
Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Recipe and my friend Sam

For the brine:

  • 7.5 qts water
  • 1.5 cups coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Half bunch of fresh thyme
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bottle dry Riesling or the equivalent amount of no sodium chicken/turkey stock
For the turkey:
  • 1, 15-lb turkey (thawed if frozen)
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, peeled and chopped into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 2 white turnips, peeled and cut into eighths
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 lemon
  • Half bunch of fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper


The day before you intend to make the turkey:
  • Make your brine: In a pot over medium-low heat, combine 1.5 qts water along with salt, peppercorns, juniper berries, fennel seeds, bay leaves and about 3/4 of the lemon slices. Squeeze in the juice from the remaining lemon slices before adding them to the pot. Stir on occasion until the salt has dissolved–about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes.
  • While the salt is dissolving, line a 5-gallon or larger container with an oven-safe bag for easy cleanup. Place half the onions, garlic, and fresh herbs into the bottom of the bag.
  • Wash and dry your turkey, inside and out. Remove giblets and reserve for stock/gravy or discard. Place turkey in bag along with the remaining onions, garlic, and fresh herbs.
  • Pour the salt-lemon mixture over the turkey. Add the remaining water and the Riesling.
  • Tie bag. Weigh down turkey with a plate if it isn’t completely submerged. Place in the refrigerator for 18-24 hours. It MUST sit overnight.
On turkey day:
  • Remove turkey from refrigerator about an hour before cooking. Discard brine. Dry turkey inside and out. Use your hand to separate skin from breast and legs (don’t remove, just separate from the flesh. It should still be attached!). Set aside.
  • Place chopped parsnips, turnips, celery, and carrots in bottom of roasting pan. Set rack on top.
  • Slice your lemon: cut lemon in half. Cut half into thin slices (like 1/4-inch thick). Places lemon slices under turkey skin.
  • Chop remaining half of lemon into quarters. Tuck inside turkey cavity along with remaining fresh herbs. Place turkey atop rack, breast-side up.
  • Tuck wings underneath and tie legs together.
  • Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place in preheated 375 degree oven. Be sure to baste the turkey every thirty minutes with juices from the bottom of the pan and rotate the pan after 2 hours. If the turkey starts to brown too quickly, cover with a piece of aluminum foil.
  • Cook for about 2.5 hours or until temperature in thigh registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.
Serves 14+

One response to “Lemony, Roasted Brined Turkey

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