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Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Brine

This lemon-rosemary turkey brine is an excellent way to infuse extra flavor and plumping action to your baked or smoked turkey!

Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Brine

Do you want your holiday turkey to take on a light citrus-herb flavor? This lemon-rosemary turkey brine is the way to go. All you’ll need are a few simple ingredients, a large stockpot, and a good-sized baking bag. Then, you’ll be ready to brine your bird in no time!

Why do you need to brine a turkey?

Brining helps the turkey absorb liquid, which keeps it moist and juicy during the cooking process. The salt will season the meat, while the remaining ingredients add extra flavor. It is important not to add any more salt to the turkey once it has brined. We recommend using a sodium-free rub before cooking.

Lemon and Rosemary Marinade Recipe

Brine ingredients:

See recipe card for measurements, and use suggested substitutions as needed.

  • Cold water
  • Morton kosher salt (see notes below in recipe card)
  • White wine (any white wine will do)
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Sprigs of rosemary
  • Bay leaves
  • Sprigs of thyme
  • Garlic
Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Brine

How to make a wet brine:

  • Heat water, sugar, and salt in a large stockpot over high heat. 
  •  Stir the mixture until the sugar and kosher salt have dissolved. Remove from heat and let the water cool completely (about 2 hours).
  •  Once cooled, add the remaining ingredients to the brine and stir through.
  •  Place the large baking bag into a second stockpot or large container and place the turkey inside. Pour the lemon-rosemary turkey brine over the bird. 
  •  Seal or tie the bag and place it into the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  •  Remove turkey from brine and blot dry with paper towels.
  •  Season turkey with a salt-free rub, and cook as directed.
  •  For turkeys 20 pounds or more: If you have a very large turkey, place it in a cooler. Add the lemon-rosemary turkey brine and 4 cups of ice, cover tightly, and store in a cool place. You can also fill resealable bags with ice and pack them on top and around the cooler.

Recipe alternatives:

  • Herbs: If you do not have fresh rosemary on hand, or are not a fan of this herb, simply substitute with equal amounts of fresh thyme, oregano, basil, or marjoram.
  • Citrus: Use 4-5 fresh limes instead of lemons, for a deeper citrus flavor.
  • Savories: For those with garlic sensitivity, substitute with 1 medium white onion, quartered, or 1 large shallot, quartered.

Try this brine on:

Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Brine

Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Brine

This wet brine infuses a light citrus and herbal note to poultry. This will help to brighten up the flavor and provide a tender juicy holiday turkey.
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Course: Marinades/Brines
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: lemon-rosemary turkey brine, turkey brine
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 Gallon
Calories: 303kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 3/4 cup Morton kosher salt (*see notes below)
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed

Instructions

  • Heat water, sugar and salt in a large stockpot over high heat. Stir mixture until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat and let the water cool completely (about 2 hours).
    Once cooled, add remaining ingredients to the brine and stir through.
  • Place the large baking bag into a second stockpot or large container, and place the turkey inside. Pour the brine over the turkey. Seal or tie bag and place into the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • Remove turkey from brine and blot dry with paper towels.
    Season turkey with a salt-free rub, and cook as directed.
  • If you have a very large turkey, place into a cooler. Add the brine and 4 cups of ice, cover tightly and store in a cool place. You can also fill resealable bags with ice and pack it on top and around the cooler.

Notes

Note on salt: We used Morton kosher salt for this recipe and recommend using it as well. Other brands will require measurement adjustments. Do not use table salt for this recipe as it is fine and much more concentrated. You will end up with an over salted turkey. Other products like Diamond or sea salt will produce varied results. As always, use a low sodium or sodium-free rub on your turkey once brined.
Recipe substitutions:
    • Herbs: If you do not have fresh rosemary on hand, or are not a fan of this herb, simply substitute with equal amounts of fresh thyme, oregano, basil, or marjoram.
    • Citrus: Use 4-5 fresh limes instead of lemons, for a deeper citrus flavor.
    • Savories: For those with garlic sensitivity, substitute with 1 medium white onion, quartered, or 1 large shallot, quartered.

Nutrition

Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 84923mg | Potassium: 799mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Vitamin C: 230mg | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 4mg

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