CITRUS BRINED ROAST TURKEY & GRAVY adapted from Pioneer woman
Prep Time: 24 hours 45 mins

5 bay leaves
5 garlic cloves, minced
Peel of 3 oranges, plus 1 orange, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 lime, cut into wedges
3 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
3 tablespoons tri-color peppercorns

  • Combine all the brine ingredients in a large pot with 2 gallons cold water stirring until the sugar and salt COMPLETELY dissolve.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover.
  • Let cool completely.
  • Pour the cooled brine into a large brining bag or pot.
  • Add the turkey and refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours.


  • When ready to roast, remove the turkey from the brine.
  • Submerge the turkey in a pot of fresh cold water.
  • Allow to sit in the clean water for 15 minutes to remove the excess salt.

18-20 pound turkey (reserve the giblets and neck for the gravy)
2 oranges, zested and juiced RESERVE zest and 2nd orange
1 lemon, zested and juiced RESERVE zest
2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 tablespoons finely chopped FRESH Thyme leaves, plus 4 to 5 sprigs (2 for garnish)
2 tablespoons finely chopped FRESH Tarragon leaves, plus 4-5 sprigs (2 for garnish)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3 cups homemade chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine

  • Preheat the oven to 275 ̊.
  • Remove the turkey from the water, pat dry and place breast-side up on a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan.
  • GENEROUSLY season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add juice from 1 lemon and 1 orange to the turkey cavity.
  • Cover with heavy duty foil.
  • Roast 10 minutes per pound.
  • Remove turkey from oven and increase the heat to 325 ̊. Discard foil. Don’t worry that the turkey is so pale!


  • Combine the butter, thyme leaves, tarragon leaves, salt and pepper in a bowl until well blended.
  • Smear the butter mixture all over the skin and into the crevices so that the turkey is totally covered.
  • Slice the reserved orange into wedges and place in the cavity of the turkey along with 3 each of the thyme and tarragon sprigs.
  • Cross the legs and tie them together with kitchen twine.
  • Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh behind the leg joint.
  • Pour the chicken broth and wine into the bottom of the pan.
  • Roast for 5-7 minutes per pound, basting the turkey every 30 minutes, until the thermometer reads 165 ̊.
  • Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.
  • Save the drippings for gravy.


Giblet pieces and neck, saved from the uncooked turkey
Drippings from roasted turkey
1/2 cup WONDRA flour (more if needed)
4 cups no-sodium chicken or turkey broth
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon each FRESH chopped Tarragon and Thyme leaves

  • In a small saucepan cover the giblets and neck with water by 2 inches.
  • Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour to cook meat and create the broth for the gravy.
  • Remove the giblets and neck from the broth and set aside to be chopped into sell pieces when cool enough to touch.
  • Set the broth in the saucepan aside for later.


While the turkey is resting pour all the drippings from the turkey roasting pan into a bowl and let the drippings sit and separate naturally, then use a ladle to carefully separate the fat from the liquid drippings (the fat will be on top, while the drippings will settle at the bottom).

  • When ready to make the gravy, return the pan to the stove over medium low flame.
  • Add 1 cup of the fat to the pan.
  • Sprinkle the flour all over the fat and immediately begin whisking it around to make a smooth roux that is not too oily or pasty by adding more fat or flour as necessary.
  • Whisk it slowly for a few minutes, allowing it to cook to a deep golden brown color.
  • Once the roux is ready, pour in 1 cup of the drippings (the gel from under the fat) and the chicken or turkey broth, whisking constantly, cooking 7-8 minutes until thickened.


  • While gravy is simmering, use your fingers to remove as much of the neck meat as you can and chop up the giblets into fine pieces.
  • Add as much of the meat to the gravy as you desire.
  • If the gravy seems too thick, add more broth and/or a little of the reserved giblet broth (the water used to cook the giblets.)
  • Taste and adjust seasoning.

To complete our Thanksgiving meal I also traditionally make Sourdough Oatnut herb dressing, Homemade Cranberry Sauce and our Family Favorite Mashed Potatoes.

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