Whole Turkey Recipe with Buttermilk Brine

Description: Ok, so how many of you grew up with your grandparents or parents putting the Turkey in the oven the night before Thanksgiving and letting it cook all night? I know I did and I thought that Turkey was delicious but a little on the dry side. Once I became an adult and started cooking for my family I was determined to find a way to make a flavorful, juicy Turkey. This recipe is just that. Its a little time consuming and the buttermilk can be a little pricey, but its definitely worth it!

Ingredients (these are enough ingredients for a 10 lb Turkey)

  • Double the recipe if using a bigger Turkey


  • 1 gallon of buttermilk
  • 8 tablespoon of Kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of cumin
  • 3 tablespoons of peppercorns
  • 6-8 fresh, chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 large white onion, chopped


  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Poultry Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning


  • 1 Tablespoon Poultry Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning


  • stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • teaspoon of paprika (use more if desired)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (to pour in your roasting pan)

Brine Instructions

  1. Remove giblet, neck, and gravy packets from inside of the turkey and place in the refrigerator or discard.
  2. Make sure your Turkey is completely thawed and wash thoroughly in cold water and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl add buttermilk, kosher salt, sugar, and cumin.
  4. Whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  5. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  6. Place turkey in brining bag or a regular roasting bag and place it into a roaster pan or a large bucket or pot.
  7. Pour the brine mixture into the bag and make sure it covers the entire turkey. Gather the top of the bag tightly so that there is no air in the bag and tie the bag.
  8. Place your turkey into the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours. The longer the better its in there the better.
  9. Once brining is complete, pour off brine, and wash the turkey thoroughly with cold water.

Roasting Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Take out one of your oven racks and place it over your sink and place your brined and cleaned turkey on the rack and pat dry.
  3. Make Butter Rub #1 by creaming the butter in a bowl, adding in poultry seasoning, cajun seasoning, & olive oil, mix until combined, and set aside.
  4. Make Dry Rub #2 by adding poultry seasoning and cajun spices into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Lift up the skin on of your turkey and use half of butter rub #1 mixture and spread it under the skin and inside the cavity. DO NOT spread any on the top skin.
  6. Bring a pot of water to boil. (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP)
  7. Using a measuring cup, scoop out cup full at a time of the boiling hot water and pour it over the skin of your turkey, but try not to get it in the cavity. You will notice the skin on your turkey will instantly contract. This is what helps seal in the juices as the turkey cooks.
  8. Next lather on the remaining butter mixture on top of the skin and sprinkle on Dry Rub #2.
  9. Stuff the turkeys cavity with a whole apple and a whole orange. Do not cut the apple and orange up unless you absolutely need to.
  10. Pour chicken broth into the bottom of a roasting pan.
  11. Place your turkey breast side down on the rack in a roasting pan. (I usually use a cooling rack and a large aluminum roasting pan).
  12. Cook your turkey according to weight.
  13. Baste your Turkey every 30-45 minutes by using a large kitchen syringe and sucking the juices from under your turkey and squeezing it evenly on top of your turkey.
  14. Halfway through roasting, turn turkey breast side up.
  15. When your turkey has about 3-4 minutes left, make up Butter Rub #3 by combining all ingredients together.
  16. Remove your turkey from the oven and brush on Butter rub #3.
  17. Return it to the oven and broil for 3-4 minutes. This will crisp up the skin. Watch it carefully though as it browns very quickly.
  18. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes before carving. This allows the meat to relax and the juices to settle deeper into the meat.
  19. Remove & discard the apple and orange.

CoCos Tips:

Make sure you brine for at least 8 hours. DO NOT OVER COOK YOUR TURKEY. Cook your turkey according to the weight and use a thermometer to check for doneness. DO NOT SKIP THE BASTING/BASTE OFTEN at least every 30 mins and dont be scared to check your turkeys temperature often. You can use stuffing instead of an apple or orange is you desire. If you arent using stuffing to stuff your turkey, go with an apple and orange because these are the best fruits to use to provide maximum moisture.