Brined Turkey: December Holiday Favorites Food Blog Swap

Hi, I’m Pam from The Patriotic Pam.  I’m so glad to be here today to share this wonderful Big Greedn Egg Brined Turkey recipe with you.

This is our absolute FAVORITE turkey recipe and we have tried many.  I love how juicy, tender and savory this brine makes the turkey.  It just turns out perfect every time!  So let’s get to it.


Grilled Brined Turkey
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
  • ¾ Cup Coarse kosher salt
  • ⅓ Cup Sugar
  • 2 Whole Onions (diced)
  • 2 Whole Carrots (Chopped)
  • 3 Pieces Celery (Chopped)
  • 1 Whole Garlic bulb (cut in half)
  • ½ Bunch Rosemary
  • ½ Bunch Sage
  • ½ Whole Annis bulb (Fennel)
  • 6 Whole Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Crushed red pepper
  • ½ Cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 Whole Rind of navel orange
  • 2 Gallons Water
  • 1 Stick (FOR TURKEY PREP, NOT BRINE) Butter
  1. Combine all ingredients with the 2 gallons of water. Stir well to dissolve sugar and etc.
  2. Place turkey in brine and refrigerate for up to three days. (We used a brand new 5 gallon bucket and since we live in New England where it's been below freezing daily, we just added ice to our brine and stored in garage for two days, making sure the ice stayed in brine so we knew our temps were staying cold!)
  3. Remove turkey from brine the night before you want to cook it. Pat it dry. Store in refrigerator overnight for a crisper skin.
  4. To prep turkey for Big Green Egg, start your BGE and set temp around 325-350 degrees. We added Cherry woods chips to our coals for a nice smoke flavor.
  5. Prep turkey by placing on a v rack in a baking pan OK for BGE. Use a stick of butter to coat skin all the way around turkey. I find a room temperature stick of butter us best for this.
  6. If you are going to stuff your turkey prepare your stuffing and allow to cool to room temp. Place into turkey. Turkey is now ready for grill.
  7. Place turkey on BGE using a plate setter to diffuse the heat and leave turkey on v rack with a 9x13 baking pan under it too. All this allows for the turkey to cook evenly and slowly.
  8. Grill turkey for about 15-20 mins per pound. And make sure internal temperature of your done turkey is 165. We used a quick read thermometer to check when we were getting close.
  9. Allow turkey to rest inside off of BGE for about 25-30 mins before carving. This allows the juices to sink into the meat of the turkey for a juicier bird. Carve and serve!


So that was the formal recipe…here are a few fun photos from one of our many times of making this recipe.  I love pictures, so here are a few for you to see.
Yummy!  Definitely worth trying and if you don’t have a Big Green Egg…just prepare exactly the same and back in oven for set time per pound of your turkey.  I have another oven turkey secret to share with you…try baking your turkey in your oven in a brown paper grocery bag.  Just prepare turkey as normal, and stick in brown paper bag.  Close bag and staple closed.  Turkey will stay nice and juicy.  It’s another family favorite secret!  Enjoy it!!!

A few other recipes to try and enjoy!


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Below the collage are links to all of the posts that participated in our Blog Swap Meet: Holiday Recipes!

Stop by and visit them all!

dec blog swap meet collage 400


If You Can Read, You Can Cook posted on The Patriotic Pam

The Patriotic Pam posted on If You Can Read, You Can Cook

Cook in 5 Square Meters posted on Dizzy Busy and Hungry!

Dizzy Busy and Hungry! posted on Anyonita Nibbles

Anyonita Nibbles posted on Cook in 5 Square Meters

Mini Cheesy Turkey Meatballs

One of my favorite ways of eating pasta is spaghetti and meatballs. My mother-in-law makes a mean meatball. I’m going to have to get her to share her recipe one day. I’ll admit that I rarely make meatballs myself. We’ve also been transitioning more and more to poultry instead of red meat. The last time I actually cooked beef at home was probably steaks on the grill over the summer. So the answer when I’m jonesing for a meatball is to make turkey meatballs.

Mini cheesy turkey meatballs in marinara sauce

Now I have a confession to make. In the great debate over large meatballs vs small meatballs, I prefer small meatballs. I like to make the small, appetizer size. With the big ones, you get 2 or 3 on your plate. They just go too fast. But the same amount of meat that goes into one large meatball will make 3 or 4 mini meatballs. So it makes it feel like you are having more.

So I’ve got mini meatballs, and I’ve got turkey meatballs. What could I possibly be missing? Cheese! Now I love cheese and put it in nearly everything I cook. Hard cheeses such as Parmesean fit nicely into stir-fries and broth-based soups. Softer, melty cheeses work very well for meats, pasta or rice dishes, and cream-based soups.

Many recipes for meatballs call for a ratio of one egg per pound of ground beef or ground turkey.  Since I try to keep my recipes geared towards cooking for just one or two, a pound of ground turkey is just too much. And half an egg is difficult to manage. Besides, I’ve found that ratio leads to dry turkey meatballs. So I use one egg per half pound of ground turkey. Combined with the loads of cheese, these turkey meatballs are pleasantly moist and tender.

Preparing and cooking turkey meatballs

Meatballs are one of my childhood cooking memories. My mother would usually unload any kid-friendly food preparation tasks on use to reduce her workload and keep us involved. Peeling potatoes, shredding cheese or cabbage, or just getting our hands all gooey with raw beef (or in this case turkey). Any kid who loves getting their hands dirty will love making meatballs! Younger kids might need help cracking the egg or measuring, but otherwise adults needn’t be involved until the are ready to go in the oven (the meatballs, not the kids!).

This recipe calls for baking the meatballs, but another popular way of cooking them is frying them in a pan. Since most of that fat comes from the meatball itself, baking vs frying really doesn’t change the amount of fat consumed. Fortunately for my waistline, these are turkey, so they are relatively low fat.

raw turkey meatballs

No matter how I arranged them, I just couldn’t get these meatballs even on the pan.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mini Cheesy Turkey Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 3
  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ c. breadcrumbs
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in large bowl.cheesy turkey meatballs mixture
  3. Roll mixture into 1" balls. Place on baking sheet one inch part.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until centers are cooked. You can cut one apart to check, or use a meat thermometer to check internal temperature at 165 degrees.

Once they come out of the oven, toss them in a pan with a couple cups of marinara sauce to simmer. Once the sauce is hot, you can use it to cover some spaghetti with it or make meatball subs.

Where do you fall in the meatball size debate: large or small?

Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie: Recipe Sunday

When my wife said she wanted baked mashed potatoes, I instantly thought shepherd’s pie. While baked mashed potatoes make a great side dish to many meals, I felt like something a little different. Plus, shepherd’s pie saved me from having to decide on a separate main course.

Ground Turkey Shepherd's Pie

Growing up, I always had shepherd’s pie with beef, but we have been moving away from red meat over the past year. Now beef is saved for special occasions, like prime rib for Christmas, the occasional steakhouse, and every so often a nice juicy burger. (Side note, if you are in Fort Collins, check out Big Al’s on Mountain in Old Town). But we have no beef in our refrigerator. So, I went with some ground turkey.

Of course, as my British friends would say, it’s not actually shepherd’s pie unless it uses mutton. Shepherds look after sheep after all, not cattle and especially not turkeys. So technically speaking, I made a ground turkey cottage pie. Cottage pie is kind of a catch-all for meat pies that are topped with mashed potatoes.

Ground Turkey Shepherd's Pie
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Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • ½ c. milk
  • ½ c. butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Turkey Filling
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 c. peas, cooked
  • 1 c. corn, cooked
  • 1 c. green beans, cooked
  • 1 can turkey gravy
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Peel potatoes and chop into 1" pieces. Place in large pot with water covering potatoes. Bring to boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until potatoes split easily with a fork.
  3. Drain. Add milk, butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mash until smooth consistency.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, place ground turkey in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. In casserole dish, mix together turkey, vegetables, and gravy. Top with mashed potatoes and bake in oven for 15 minutes until potatoes start to brown.

I have shared a turkey shepherd’s pie recipe in the past, in my first annual Thanksgiving leftovers recipe post. But this one is helpful for when you aren’t using up leftovers but want to make a meal from scratch instead.

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