Tuesday, November 11, 2014

White Wine Turkey Brine

With white wine, spices, herbs, and citrus, this is seriously the perfect brine for your holiday turkey. Don't blame me when you want to eat the whole bird!

Is it just me, or is anyone else constantly on the look out for new and exciting ways to spruce up their holiday meals?

I mean there is part of me that is a traditionalist and wants the same things like Grandpa's Simple Stuffing, Spiced Rum Candied Yams, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Corn, Cranberry Relish, and Turkey Gravy, made the same way every year.

But then their is that little adventurist that is looking to go bigger and better, new and exciting, and top the previous years meal by leaps and bounds.

Because my kids love so many of the traditional dishes I usually give in and make what the majority wants, and have done that for the past several years. 

But this year we got to have a preliminary Thanksgiving so to speak. You see, with all of our kids grown and out on their own, we have girlfriends and fiances plus their families to deal with. 

The last couple of years have been easier. Two of our kids were single, so it was just my son and his girlfriend's family to organize with. We adore her family so it was very easy to just combine everyone for one big meal. Two years ago it was here at our place, last year it was at theirs. 

Now we have Kevin's son and his girlfriend, and my daughter and her girlfriend. Needless to say everyone getting together in once place for one meal just ain't gonna happen! 

That was when we decided to have a pre-holiday dinner to get all of the kids together and spend some time with them. So I got to stretch my imagination and come up with a few twists to some of my traditional dishes for this "warm up" meal, which I absolutely loved doing.

For years I have cooked my turkey the same way. I was even bold enough to post it as The Perfect Roast Turkey, and I will tell you that it was, and still is, one of the best dang turkey recipes I have ever tasted.

However, I had a few ideas rambling around in my little head. Ever since we started smoking everything this summer (in the smoker that is!), I have been tinkering around with brine ideas, rubs, sauces, etc.

We smoked a couple of chicken using this brine and OhhEmmmGeeee we thought our taste buds had died and gone to heaven!

So immediately we started toying with the idea of smoking the turkey this year. We ended up nixing that idea because;

A) We would have to butterfly the turkey to fit it in out smoker (which is how we do our chickens but for some reason we didn't want to do a turkey that way)

B) One of the things we love about roasted turkey is that crispy skin.....I mean hellooooooo don't we all? But the skin just doesn't get crispy in the smoker (major foodie pout).

So roasting it was going to be and, once we pulled the finished bird out of the oven and we happily nibbling on crispy turkey skin, we knew we had made the right choice.

To help get the crispiest skin possible make sure to take the bird out of the brine the night before you are going to cook it. Pat it dry, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and leave it uncovered in the fridge. It will dry it out and make it much crispier.

The kids all went on and on about the food. I made a savory bread pudding with bacon, leeks, and artichokes, creamy mashed sweet potatoes, homemade dinner rolls, and of course homemade make ahead turkey gravy.

But it was the turkey that everyone kept coming back to. They didn't want dessert, they wanted more turkey! 

My son finally announced that this recipe must become the official holiday turkey recipe and the rest of the family wholeheartedly agreed!

2 years agoMake Ahead Turkey Gravy

White Wine Turkey Brine

Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
Published 11/12/2014
White Wine Turkey Brine


  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 bottle Pinot Grigio (I used Gallo Family Vineyards)
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed but left in the skins
  • 1 bunch (a good handful) fresh thyme
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • Cold water (enough to cover turkey)
  • 16 pound turkey (giblet package and neck removed)


  1. Bring the vegetable stock, salt, bay leaves, peppercorns, and mustard seeds to a boil. Stir until salt is dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Pour the brine into a 5 gallon stock pot or container. Pour in the bottle of wine, then add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and lemons. Slowly lower in the turkey.
  3. Pour enough cool water into the pot to cover the turkey. Place lid on the pot and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
  4. For a crispier crust - Remove the turkey from the brine the night before, pat it dry, and place on a baking sheet in the refrigerator uncovered overnight.
Prep Time: 32 hrs. 15 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 32 hrs. 15 mins.
Tags: white wine, vegetable stock, garlic, shallots, thyme, lemon, turkey, Thanksgiving, Christmas

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  1. Oh My!! I have never brined my turkey but this just might be the year to do .
    That looks so good!!!! Do I just roast it in the usual way after the brining process? Same cooking time too?

    1. Yes, do it the same way and the same heat and time. If you want crispy skin make sure to take the turkey out of the brine the night before, pat it dry, and leave it in the fridge uncovered overnight.

  2. Im going to try this. I always brine My turkey and everyone raves over it (I don't eat turkey but that's no reason not to make it). I love mixing up things and wine sounds like a perfect mix up!! Thanks for sharing

    1. Fabulous Sam!! I hope everyone enjoys it as much as we did!

  3. Great recipe.
    Was wondering can one use this with other birds (chicken, goose etc)?

  4. How much mustard seed?

  5. It is 1 tablespoon. Sorry about that!! I fixed the recipe now :)

  6. What temperature and time do you use to roast the turkey? Do you add any of the brine to the roasting pan?

    1. I roast my turkey at 325 for about 20 mins per pound (internal temp should be 165). I usually baste with warmed chicken stock, you could add a bit of wine to it though.

  7. Definitely the best brine I have used (and everybody else agrees.) I used an onion instead of the shallots and also added some rosemary. Juicy and tender!!!

    1. I am so happy you like it. We never use any other brine anymore. I had a houseful this Thanksgiving and everyone felt the same way :) I love making peoples holidays a success!!

    2. Can you cook this in a slow cooker? If so, what is the best way to do it? I had this recipe at a friend's house this last Thanksgiving and it was very juicy!

    3. Hi Tammy! I am not sure what you mean by cooking it in the slow cooker.For the brine, you just need to heat the liquid enough to disolve the salt. Then you cool it before you put the turkey in. Not much more cooking to do. If you are talking about the turkey, I don't think it would fit into a slow cooker. I hope that answers your Q

  8. After I brine the turkey, do I just put it in the oven inside the cooking bag with wine and chicken stock? (Sorry, its my first time cooking a turkey)

    1. No you would want to remove the turkey from the brine the night before you want to roast it. Pat it dry, and leave it unwrapped on a baking sheet, in the fridge over night. Then roast it. Here is a post on how to roast the turkey http://www.bobbiskozykitchen.com/2013/11/the-perfect-roast-turkey-brine-recipe.html (that just has a different brine)

  9. Should the turkey be rinsed after taking out of the brine? Didn't want it to be to salty.

    1. No, I just pat it dry with a paper towel. The brine mostly imparts the meat with moisture, it won't make the bird salty. I still season before I roast. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

  10. U said u still season before u roast what do u season with before roasting?

    1. With whatever you would normally season with. You could do salt and pepper. I use poultry seasoning on mine too.