Brined and Grilled Turkey

Brined and Grilled Turkey from Zestuous

Brined and Grilled Turkey from Zestuous

This is a time-saving, oven-saving way to make a Thanksgiving turkey.

I’ve been brining my turkey for years. I usually boil a pot of water and dissolve some salt, sugar and herbs in the pot; wait for it to cool and then pour it over Tom the turkey and let it bathe for 24 hours.

Brined and Grilled Turkey from ZestuousBrining helps the turkey, especially the white meat, stay nice and juicy because it breaks down the proteins. But it takes time because, not only do you have to wait for the brine to cool, but you also have to allow a day for the bird to marinate.

This year, I cut some corners without sacrificing flavor. I used pre-made brine, and I brined the turkey and thawed it at the same time.

My brother, who lives in Atlanta, taught me that Chick-fil-A brines its birds in pickle juice. So clever! Pickle juice is pre-made brine. Thinking along those lines, there are plenty of pre-made brines on the grocery shelves. Just go to your canned veggie aisle. You could use jars of pickles, roasted red peppers, olives, artichokes, capers, etc.

I’ve been brining a lot lately using Saucy Mama’s Dirty Martini Olive Juice. It has a robust, earthy flavor with a hit of acidity. I’ve also been on a peperoncini kick, so I poured both in a bowl.

I didn’t want the turkey to be too acidic, so I added in another popular pre-poultry bath ingredient: buttermilk.

Brined and Grilled Turkey from ZestuousAs I said, I usually wait until my bird is thawed and then wait another day for the brining process. Not this year. I placed the frozen bird, innards and all, into a Reynolds Oven Bag, poured the brine over the bird, tied the bag up and let it finish thawing in the brine in the fridge for another day.

Then, I rinsed the brine off and prepped it for the grill.

I love grilling whole turkey. The oven is full of stuffing, green beans and pies. There is never room for all of that and a bird. Using a gas grill, frees up oven space and actually cooks the bird faster.

I prep the bird just like I would for the oven. I rub it down with melted butter and Zestuous Poultry Powder and I fill the cavity with veggies and herbs. Then, I place it in a pan and put it on a pre-heated grill.

Brined and Grilled Turkey from ZestuousThe bird gets basted and rotated every 20 minutes or so, until it reaches 165 degrees. A 12-lb. bird will be ready in 1 1/2-2 hours. The meat will pull away from the bones and the skin will be nice and brown. Just turn the grill off, keep it covered and your bird will be warm and ready for the rest of the meal.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Brined and Grilled Turkey

Brined and Grilled Turkey


  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1 bottle Saucy Mama Dirty Olive Juice (reserve ½ cup juice)
  • 1 16-oz jar peperoncinis (reserve ½ cup juice)
  • 1 12-14-lb. turkey
  • 5 sage leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Zestuous Poultry Powder
  • 4 cups water
  • Rub
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons Zestuous Poultry Powder
  • 1 stalk celery, cut
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4-5 leaves sage
  • 1 sprig thyme

Pour ½ cup olive juice and ½ cup peperoncini juice into a pitcher or bowl and reserve for later.

Place turkey in a large bag. In a large pitcher, combine the buttermilk, remaining olive juice, peperoncinis with remaining juice, sage, garlic and 1 tablespoon Zestuous Poultry Powder.

Pour over the turkey. Add four cups water. Tie the bag to seal, place in a large pan and refrigerate 1 hour per pound.

Remove from the brine and rinse. Season all over and under the skin with poultry powder and melted butter. Fill the cavity with celery, lemons, onion, garlic, sage and thyme.

Place the turkey in an aluminum pan, breast-side up. Add ½ cup peperoncini juice, ½ cup olive juice and ½ cup water to the pan.

Place on a grill over medium heat. Close the cover. Baste every 30 minutes and cook for 1 ½-2 hours, until thickest part reaches 165 degrees. Add more water to the pan, as needed.

Turn the grill off and let rest in the covered grill, until ready to serve.


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