Juicy Smoked Paprika Turkey

Brining your Thanksgiving turkey will keep it juicy…add a few seasonings and you’ll have an extra flavorful bird!

Created by: Cathy Pollak, Noble Pig, NoblePig.com

Ingredients

  • 2 gallons water, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups salt, plus 1 Tbsp., divided
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried crushed rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 turkey (12-14 lb.), fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

Directions

  • For the brine, combine 1 gallon of water, sugar, salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, peppercorns and marjoram in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, making sure the salt and the sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Pour the cooled brine into a clean 5-gallon bucket. Stir in remaining gallon of water (cold).
  • Place the turkey, breast down, in the brine. Make sure the cavity gets filled and that you've removed all the turkey innards. Place the bucket in a refrigerator overnight. Brine the turkey for 24 hours, no longer.
  • Remove the turkey, draining off the excess brine and patting it dry. Discard the brine.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients for the turkey seasoning. Place the brined turkey on a large, rimmed baking sheet. It’s easy to work with on the rimmed sheet. Gently pull up the skin of the turkey and rub the seasoning directly on the flesh. Pour more seasoning into the inside cavity and rub all around. Use the rest of seasoning to completely cover the outside of the turkey on top of the skin. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
  • Roast the turkey at 450°F for 30 minutes. At this point, you may want to cover the top of the turkey and the wings and legs with some aluminum foil as they can burn easily. Turn the oven down to 350°F for another 1½-2 hours, or until the thigh meat and breast meat both reach 160°F on a meat thermometer. This is where a digital thermometer comes in handy. You don't have to keep checking the doneness of the meat while it's in the oven. Start with the thermometer in the breast and when it reaches 160°F, move it to the thigh. Dark meat often takes longer to cook. A properly cooked turkey should reach 165°F.
  • Let meat rest for 20 minutes before carving. During this resting period, the turkey continues to cook and reaches the proper temperature for eating.

Recipe Information

Ingredients

  • 2 gallons water, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups salt, plus 1 Tbsp., divided
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried crushed rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 turkey (12-14 lb.), fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

Directions

  • For the brine, combine 1 gallon of water, sugar, salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, peppercorns and marjoram in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, making sure the salt and the sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Pour the cooled brine into a clean 5-gallon bucket. Stir in remaining gallon of water (cold).
  • Place the turkey, breast down, in the brine. Make sure the cavity gets filled and that you've removed all the turkey innards. Place the bucket in a refrigerator overnight. Brine the turkey for 24 hours, no longer.
  • Remove the turkey, draining off the excess brine and patting it dry. Discard the brine.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients for the turkey seasoning. Place the brined turkey on a large, rimmed baking sheet. It’s easy to work with on the rimmed sheet. Gently pull up the skin of the turkey and rub the seasoning directly on the flesh. Pour more seasoning into the inside cavity and rub all around. Use the rest of seasoning to completely cover the outside of the turkey on top of the skin. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
  • Roast the turkey at 450°F for 30 minutes. At this point, you may want to cover the top of the turkey and the wings and legs with some aluminum foil as they can burn easily. Turn the oven down to 350°F for another 1½-2 hours, or until the thigh meat and breast meat both reach 160°F on a meat thermometer. This is where a digital thermometer comes in handy. You don't have to keep checking the doneness of the meat while it's in the oven. Start with the thermometer in the breast and when it reaches 160°F, move it to the thigh. Dark meat often takes longer to cook. A properly cooked turkey should reach 165°F.
  • Let meat rest for 20 minutes before carving. During this resting period, the turkey continues to cook and reaches the proper temperature for eating.