The biggest gripe I have about roasting a turkey is that, when roasting the whole bird, to get the thigh to come up to the optimal temperature of 170° you often will end up with a dry, overcooked breast that only needs to reach about 150° to be perfectly done.
This afternoon I came across an article on lifehacker.com that solves the problem! Cook the breasts separately and brine them first in a buttermilk based brine that infuses the meat with an incredible amount of moisture and flavor while also adding some very needed fat to help retain both.
Word to the wise: buttermilk promotes browning so watch your breast carefully as you start to get into the latter stages of roasting. The breast in the picture had foil on it for the last 15 minutes of roasting.
Buttermilk Brined Turkey Breast
- 4-5 pound bone-in turkey breast
- 1 quart of buttermilk
- 1 quart of water
- 1/2 cup of salt
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 5 smashed garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns (white are ideal)
- 1 bay leaf
- Citrus fruit slices (A couple of lemons and oranges is plenty.)
Pour the water into a sauce pan, along with the salt, sugar, garlic, pepper and bay leaf. Bring everything to a boil, then remove from the heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Let the brine cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool, combine it with the buttermilk, then pour the mixture over the turkey breast in a brining bag or small bucket. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375℉, remove the turkey from the brine, and let drain on paper towels, blotting to remove excess moisture from the skin. Scatter your fruit in the bottom of a roasting pan or large skillet, place a trivet or rack on top of that, then set the turkey on top. Roast uncovered until the skin is well-browned, covering with foil towards the end if it starts to look dicey. Continue to roast until the thickest part of the breast reads 150℉, about 90 minutes to two hours. If your breasts are Dolly Parton sized 😉 cook them a little longer. Remove from the oven, and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Sprinkle with some sea salt and citrus zest before serving. #ThisGirlLovesToEat