Whole Turkey with Light Salt Brine

Whole Turkey with Light Salt Brine

A simple, yet delicious turkey recipe from Adam Perry Lang. This Whole Turkey with Light Salt Brine is sure to please all your holiday guests.


One 12-14 pound turkey

Tip: This method works beautifully with a smaller bird and even one that weighs up to 25 pounds.

Brine Ingredients

1 tbsp crushed hot red pepper flakes
2 tbsp boiling water
18 cups water
½ cup kosher salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
4 thyme sprigs, bruised with the broad side of a knife
2 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed with a dowel or bottom of a heavy pot
Three .18 ounce packets Goya Sazón Azafran
About ½ cup canola or vegetable oil

Seasoning Blend Ingredients

3 tbsp garlic salt
1 ½ tbsp chili powder
1 ½ tbsp coarsely ground fresh black pepper
8 tbsp (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
½ bunch thyme and ½ bunch sage tied in an herb bundle

Finishing Dressing Ingredients

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp finely chopped chives
Fleur de sel
Finely ground black pepper


Place the pepper flakes in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over them; let sit for 1 to 2 minutes to re-hydrate the flakes. Combine all the brine ingredients, including the pepper flakes and the soaking water in a large bowl and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Place the turkey in a jumbo-sized resealable bag or a brining bag. Pour in the brine, squeeze out any excess air from the bag, and close. Place into another bag for insurance against leaking, and seal again. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24. If you don’t have room in your refrigerator the turkey can be stored in a small cooler with ice or frozen ice packs.

Set the Big Green Egg for indirect cooking at 275ºF/135ºC with hickory or pecan chips. Remove the turkey from the bags; rinse and lightly pat dry with paper towels. Lightly coat the turkey with canola oil and place in a roasting rack with a drip pan.

Place the turkey in the EGG and cook until the internal temperature of the thigh registers 165ºF/74ºC and the breast registers 155ºF/68ºC, about 3¾ hours to 4½ hours, depending on the size of the bird.

Meanwhile, combine the seasoning blend ingredients. Remove the turkey from the EGG, brush the skin with the melted butter and season all of the skin with the seasoning blend.

Return the turkey to the cooker and cook until the internal temperature of the thigh registers 175ºF/80ºC and the breast registers 165ºF/74ºC, about 30 minutes to 1 hour more, depending on the size of the bird.

Drizzle the olive oil on an extra-large cutting board. Top with the chives, fleur de sel, and pepper. Remove the turkey from the cooker, place on the board, and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice the breast and dredge in the dressing. Pull all of the dark meat from the thighs into chunks and dredge in the dressing. Leave the drumsticks and wings whole. Arrange on a serving plate and sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.

Recipe and photo from Big Green  Egg. Adapted from Adam Perry Lang’s Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste & Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking