Pear-Brined Turkey with Thyme, Garlic, and Sage

Pasture-raised turkey brined in pear juice, garlic, and herbs is exactly what your Thanksgiving Table needs.

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Prep time: 24h20min Cook time: 4h Serves: 6-10
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This is a favorite recipe of ours, inspired by Country Living. We’ve upped the herbs and added a serious, borderline medicinal dose of garlic, which we can’t get enough of. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 cups pear juice
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 small bunch sage
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 T coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 Gunthorp Farms pasture-raised turkey
  • 2 turkey-size oven bags
  • 8 cups ice
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 3 pears
  • Kitchen string
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 t Kosher salt
  • 1 t ground pepper
  • 3 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine pear juice, bay leaves, and half the fresh thyme and sage in a large saucepan. Separate and peel garlic; add all the cloves of garlic to the mixture (or to taste). Add salt, dark brown sugar, and coarsely ground pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until all sugars and salts dissolve, about 4 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

  2. Double the thickness of the turkey bag by placing one inside another. Put the bags in a large stockpot, and put the turkey inside the inner bag, breast side down. Add completely cooled pear juice brine and ice. Close bags, allow turkey to brine up to 24 hours, turning every few hours.

  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

  4. Remove turkey from brine and bags, discarding the brine. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. In a large roasting pan, place a lightly greased roasting rack and then put the turkey on it, breast side up. Arrange the remaining sage and thyme springs, as well as halved yellow onions, around the turkey. Inside the cavity of the turkey, place whole pairs and any leftover herbs.

  5. Tie turkey legs with string. Brush bird with butter, salt, and pepper. Pour chicken or veggie broth into roasting pan.

  6. Bake at 325 degrees F for between 3h15 and 4h, or until thermometer inserted into thigh registers 165 degrees F, basting every half hour with pan juices. If the turkey is browning too much, put an aluminum foil tent over the top.

  7. Once cooking complete, remove and let cool for 30 minutes before transferring to a nice plate.

  8. Transfer bird to platter. Pair with your favorite gravy.