Oh my yumminess! The brined turkey was AWESOME. I was nervous about brining for 24 hours; I thought it would be for too long and make the meat too mealy. I was sorely mistaken, my friends. I used a 4 lb breast (bone-in) because that’s all they had at our store, and we still have one whole side left over for tomorrow night, or for lunch tomorrow.
I was a vegetarian for many years and only within the past few years started eating poultry again. I have a SEVERE aversion to touching raw chicken (it makes my hands itchy and grosses me out completely). Having to rub this big ol’ turkey breast down with oil was absolutely horrifying. I was so completely skeeved. But it was definitely well worth it. You MUST make this turkey. Now. It’s fantastic.
Oh, and I didn’t let it go to 180 degrees. We took it out at 165 and it got up to 170 before we cut it. It was definitely not underdone. In fact, the outside was a bit tough (you remove the skin so the meat is exposed) so I should have probably covered it with foil a little earlier in the game, but even that “tough” meat was delicious. Reminded us both of the turkey legs you get at Renaissance festivals. I love me some turkey legs.
- 7 cups water, divided
- 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 1/2 cup kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 1 (6-pound) whole bone-in turkey breast, skinned
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- Cooking spray
- Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
- Combine 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons pepper, and thyme sprigs in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl; cool to room temperature. Add remaining 6 cups water, salt, honey, and sugar, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour salt mixture into a 2-gallon zip-top plastic bag. Add ice and turkey; seal. Refrigerate 24 hours, turning the bag occasionally. Remove turkey from bag, and discard brine. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
- Rub turkey with oil. Combine 1 tablespoon pepper and chopped thyme; rub over turkey.
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Place the turkey on a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until thermometer inserted into thickest portion of the breast registers 180°. Place turkey on a platter. Cover with foil; let stand 15 minutes. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.