Pomegranate Citrus Glazed Turkey & all your turkey questions answered
Updated: Jun 19
Everything I learned about Thanksgiving food is from my wonderful mother in law. who patiently over the years cooked with me everything she learned from her mother and grandmother growing up in Minnesota. As years went by I learned to really enjoy every traditional dish served and put my touch on it. Today I am sharing with you everything I know about the bird, brining, thawing, what turkey to buy, and how much and of course how to roast a delicious juicy turkey every single time. Pomegranate citrus glazed turkey roasted with ghee is now an absolute family favorite. It’s a bit sweet and a bit tangy and really really flavorful. Although I am not hosting thanksgiving this year I am on dishes duty at my sister in laws house :) i thought its a perfect opportunity to share with you this delicious recipe and more importantly this technique. To make sure that you too have a juicy, and flavorful turkey every single time.
And my kids won’t mind a whole turkey, I might even make their favorite side cream corn for Monday dinner.
To thaw your turkey from frozen:
It’s best to thaw your turkey in the fridge. Rule of thumb for every five pounds of turkey allow 24 hours to thaw in the fridge.
Dry vs. Wet Brine your Turkey
A wet brine:
Is when you submerge a hunk of meat in seasoned salt-Water solution. It is a great way to add flavor and moisture to your meat.
A dry brine:
You are going to add your salt and seasoning directly on the bird but and it does not require any water. Instead, a dry brine involves rubbing the salt, seasonings, and/or sugar directly onto the meat and skin, and then letting the meat rest in the fridge. What happens is:
The salt draws out the meat juices.
Next, the salt dissolves into the juices, essentially turning into a “natural” brine.
Cover your Turkey and let it brine in the fridge for 1-2 days
And finally, uncover your turkey and let it air dry in the fridge for another day. What happens is that the seasoned brine gets reabsorbed into the meat and starts breaking down tough muscle proteins. The result is juicy, tender, well seasoned turkey meat .
I prefer this method over the wet brine because:
You can prep your Turkey ahead of time.
There’s no messy water. Can never find a container big enough to hold the turkey and also fit in my overstuffed thanksgiving fridge. Just place your dry brined Turkey on roasting pan or I even like to put it in an oversized zip bag this way I make sure it doesn’t touch anything else and avoid cross contamination.
This method will yield to a delicious and moist and tender turkey.
Letting your turkey air dry uncovered in the fridge in the last day will draw out all the moisture and let the brine get absorbed back into the meat which yields into perfectly crispy skin.
Before you brine pay attention to your ingredients:
1. Type of Turkey: for brining the bird make sure you use fresh or frozen turkey that's not kosher or pre- salted if you are not sure make sure you read the label otherwise your meat will be way too salty.
2. Type of salt: Pay attention to the type of salt you use. In my recipes I use kosher Morton salt, which is coarser than regular table salt. So if you are using fine table salt make sure you use half the amount this recipe calls for.
General rules to cook by when making a turkey:
Salt: For every 5 pounds of turkey, you will need 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Seasoning: for every 5 pounds of turkey use 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs or 1 tsp of fresh herbs. My favorite herbs for poultry: sage, Rosemary, Thyme
To Dry-Brine a Turkey
1 (14-to-16 pound) thawed if frozen whole turkey (make sure it’s not kosher or pre-salted)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 tsp of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as thyme, sage, and rosemary, or a blend of the three.
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Mix the dry brine ingredients together.
Take the turkey out of the packaging and place on a cutting board. Remove the giblets and neck from inside the cavity and discard or save for something else.
Pat the turkey dry. Pat the outside of the turkey dry with paper towels.
Loosen the skin. Using your fingers get under the skin and loosen its loosen the skin over the breast and between the thighs
Season the turkey from the inside out making sure you also season the cavity.
Refrigerate. Place the turkey breast-side up in a roasting pan or large zip bag and refrigerate 1- 3 days. Cover it for the first day to draw out the moisture and creating the natural brine. Then uncovered for a day so the moisture get absorbed right back into the meat.
Pomegranate Molasses and Citrus Glazed Turkey
Total cooking time: 3:30-4:00 hours
Inside the turkey’s cavity:
Half a lemon
Half an orange
Half an Apple
One onion halved
2 stalks of celery chopped
Garlic bulb cut in half
2 bay leaves
Fresh thyme, and sage
4 tbls Ghee
1 cup chicken or turkey broth.
Pomegranate molasses citrus glaze:
1 cup pomegranate molasses
Juice of one orange about 2 tbls
juice of one lemon
1 tbls Honey
Salt and freshy ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves finely minced
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 bay leaf
Bring you turkey to room temperature. Take your turkey out of the fridge an hour before you plan to roast it.
Preheat oven to 450F
Pat your Turkey dry with paper towels make sure your turkey is as dry as possible so it browns nicely.
Stuff the turkeys cavity with all the flavorings (Apple, Orange, onion, garlic, sage, celery, bay leaf and thyme)
Tie the turkey legs together with a piece of butcher's twine and tuck the wings back so they don’t burn.
Rub the ghee all over the turkey, pull the skin away from the breast making sure you don’t tear it and rub underneath the skin as well.
Add a cup of broth to the roasting pan and roast the turkey for 30 minutes at 450°F.
After 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 350°F and continue roasting
Tip: to avoid over browning especially on the breast: Coat a piece of foil large enough to cover turkey breast with nonstick spray. Cover breast with foil, coated side down.
In the meantime make the glaze:
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer about 5 to 8 minutes until slightly thickened and syrupy. Strain the mixture through a sieve and set aside to cool.
After turkey has roasted for 2 hours, brush pomegranate glaze mixture over turkey. Continue to brush turkey with pomegranate glaze mixture every 20-30 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 °F.
When the turkey is done, let it rest covered for at least 20 minutes so the juices get redistributed back into the meat.
transfer to a cutting board or serving plate, carve, and serve.
Your Turkey Cheat sheet so you can be ready for the big day.. You got this!
Take your turkey out of the fridge an hour before you plan to roast it.
Unstuffed turkey: 13 minutes of cooking time for every pound of turkey
15 minutes per pound if stuffed.
The turkey is done when it registers a minimum of 165° in the thickest part of the thigh.
Serving suggestion: 1.25 - 1.5 pound per person
Rest the turkey for at least 20 minutes before carving.