Brined Turkey Breast

Joseph Bonaparte

International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach at Horry Georgetown Technical College, Conway, SC

This easy brine makes the turkey breast moist and flavorful. Joseph Bonaparte smoked the brined turkey breast at his Thanksgiving dinner at the Beard House, but his roasted version is also very tasty.


  • 1 gallon plus one quart water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed
  • One whole bone-in turkey breast with the skin on (about 8 pounds)


Combine the water, salt, molasses, thyme, parsley, onion, lemon, garlic, and peppercorns in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, shut off and let the flavors infuse for 30 minutes. Strain into a large bowl and chill the brine until cold, about one and a half hours.

Place the turkey breast in the brine and weigh down with a plate to keep it submerged in the brine. Place in the refrigerator for 10 to 12 hours or overnight.

Remove the turkey breast and place skin side up uncovered in the refrigerator for about three more hours to dry. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Roast the turkey breast skin side up in the oven until golden brown and the internal temperature is 160ºF, about one hour. Remove from the heat and let the turkey breast rest in a warm place for 15 minutes before slicing.


8 to 10 servings