Brined and Roasted Turkey with Carmelized Onion Gravy

This roasted turkey recipe includes easy – but optional – directions for how to brine the bird before roasting. This is one of the most tender and flavorful roasted turkey recipes I’ve found!


1 6-10 lb fresh turkey, or frozen turkey, thawed

For the brine

2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup Kosher salt
3 whole heads garlic, bruised
6 large bay leaves
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped, unpeeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
1-1/2 cups soy sauce
3 quarts water
Olive oil

For the roasting

1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt & pepper to taste
8 cups sliced sweet onions, cut 1/4 in thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

For the gravy

2 tablespoons reserved pan drippings
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Salt & pepper to taste


For the brining

Combine all ingredients, except the turkey, in a stockpot large enough to hold the brine and the turkey. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and cool completely. Rinse turkey well and submerge turkey in the cooled brine, adding water if necessary to ensure that the bird is completely covered. You may need to weight the bird down with a plate to keep it completely submerged – this is crucial! No part of the bird should be above the level of the liquid. Refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours and up to 4 days. Turn bird in brine twice per day.

When ready to roast, remove bird from brine. It is not necessary to rinse; the bird will not be salty.

For the roasting

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place turkey, breast side up, in the middle of a roasting pan. Brush turkey with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place onions in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat. place in roasting pan around the base of the turkey. Roast at 400 F for 30 minutes, or until turkey skin turns golden. Reduce heat to 325 F, stirring the onions, and continue to roast 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, or until the internal temperature reaches 170 F in the breast and the onions are golden brown. Sprinkle with fresh thyme during the last 30 minutes of roasting time.

Remove from oven and place turkey on platter, loosely covering with a sheet of foil. Let rest for 15-20 minutes.

For the gravy

Place onions in a bowl and set aside. Place pan drippings and butter in a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic, sprinkle in flour and stir for about one minute. Stir in wine and broth, stirring until mixture thickens slightly. (You may need to add cornstarch and water to acheive desired consistency.) Add reserved onions and heath through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


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