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Herb-Brined Turkey With Pear Gravy


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  • 3 gallons water
  • 1 box coarse kosher salt - (3 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup whole black peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/3 cup fresh marjoram sprigs
  • 1/3 cup fresh sage sprigs
  • 12 Turkish bay leaves
  • 1 turkey - (abt 13 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup butter - (1 stick) room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter - (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup pear juice
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram


Servings 8


Step 1

For Turkey: Stir 3 gallons water and salt in large pot until salt dissolves. Stir in peppercorns and next 4 ingredients. Add turkey to brine. Place large plate atop turkey to submerge. Place in refrigerator. Soak turkey 8 to 10 hours. Remove turkey from brine; rinse and pat dry. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store uncovered in refrigerator.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place turkey on rack in large roasting pan. Rub butter over turkey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place turkey in oven. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175 degrees, about 2 1/2 hours. Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before carving (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).

For Pear Gravy: Spoon off fat from drippings in pan, reserving 1/4 cup fat. Measure 2/3 cup pan juices. Melt butter and reserved 1/4 cup fat in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Mix in flour. Stir until light brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually add chicken broth, pear juice, and 2/3 cup pan juices. Simmer until thickened, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Stir in rum. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle turkey with marjoram; serve with gravy.

This recipe yields 8 servings.

Storage Solutions: No room in the fridge to brine a turkey? No problem. Put a turkey-sized oven bag in a large cooler, then place the turkey in the bag. Pour in the brine and seal tightly. Place ice over and around turkey, close the lid tightly, and let it brine 8 to 10 hours, adding ice periodically to keep temperature at 40 degrees or below.

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