Nov 17, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Menu: Roasted Turkey Breast

Welcome to my first post of Thanksgiving recipes! To refresh your memory, here's the menu.

Thanksgiving (for 2) 2012 Menu

Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
Mashed Potatoes and Pan Gravy
Apple Stuffing
Alton Brown's Cranberry Dipping Sauce
Crock Pot Green Beans with Bacon
Crescent Rolls
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

We're focusing on the turkey breast for this post, which is obvious, because you read the title. Last year was my first time roasting anything (chicken, turkey...), so it was kind of a big deal to me. But it turned out extremely well and if I remember correctly, Brandon said "this is the juiciest turkey I've ever had". *Beams with pride*

Also, the process is so simple, I can do it and I'm not really very experienced in the kitchen. I've had more flops than successes with executing recipes, so I was happy when this (expensive) bird turned out well. 

Thanksgiving Food

The Day Before

Turkey Brine*
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 dried bay leaves (optional)
  • 2 oranges or tangerines, quartered

Combine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring to dissolve solids. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until cooled.

Combine the brine with and additional cold water in a turkey baking dish or large, clean bucket. Place the thawed turkey breast, breast side down, in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours. 

1.5-3 hours before Thanksgiving Dinner depends on the size of your turkey
Turkey Baking Process*
Long gone are the days of the turkey slowly cooking in the oven all morning. This process is quick, easy, and produces the juiciest turkey in the shortest amount of cooking time. Of course, it also helps when you are just roasting a turkey breast...but this method also can be applied to a full sized turkey.

Need: meat thermometer and roasting pan or rack

  • Preheat oven to 500F.
  • Rinse the brine off of the turkey with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Rub the turkey with canola oil.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, on the lowest level of the oven (the oven and kitchen may get smokey). Check to make sure it is not too brown. If it’s okay, roast at this temperature for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until skin browns.
  • Reduce the temperature to 350F.
  • Continue roasting. It should only take an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • The internal temperature should be 161F in the deepest part of the breast.
  • Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let it rest 30 minutes to 1 hour 

My recipes for mashed potatoes and pan gravy and apple stuffing (my absolute favorite Thanksgiving side) are coming soon!

*These recipes are credited to my brother, who is a kitchen master. Seriously, the kid makes everything from scratch and does more recipe testing than America's Test Kitchen. He needs a blog. 


  1. I never knew making a turkey was so involved! If I ever have to make one, I have saved this post!

  2. Yes! I was so scared making the turkey breast last year...I didn't want to ruin our Thanksgiving and waste that $18 bird breast :)

  3. Sarah @ The Smart KitchenNovember 29, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    Wow. I am going to stick to my turkey in a bag.

    I mean...if I ate turkey.

  4. Sarah @ The Smart KitchenNovember 29, 2012 at 5:31 AM

    I have roasted a chicken twice. Once, I named him Maurice and he was still a bit raw when he finished. The second time I decided to use green yarn to tie him and he came out with green stripes.

    Maybe that is why I'm a good vegan


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