Orange-Tea-Bourbon Brined Turkey With Honey Mustard Butter

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 9 hr
  • Prep: 8 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr
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1 fresh or frozen turkey (1 to 1 1/2 pounds per person)

Zest (in wide strips) and juice of 5 oranges

Kosher salt

1 cup sugar

12 black tea bads

4 bay leaves

6 cloves

12 peppercorns

1 cup bourbon

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons dijon mustard

3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard


  1. Unwrap the turkey and remove the neck and giblets (reserve for gravy). Rinse the turkey under cold water and pat dry. Fill a large pot with 2 quarts water; add the orange zest, orange juice, 2 cups kosher salt, the sugar, black tea bags, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and bourbon. Bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes. Add 4 quarts cold water and let cool. Submerge the turkey in the brine, adding water to cover, if necessary. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Remove the turkey from the brine; rinse and pat dry. Mix the butter, honey, dijon mustard and spicy brown mustard until combined. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the butter, then rub the rest under the turkey skin on the breasts and legs. Rub 2 tablespoons of the reserved butter on the skin; chill and save the rest for your gravy. Let the turkey stand 30 minutes at room temperature before roasting.
  3. Put the oven rack in the lowest position; preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the turkey breast-side up on a rack in a large roasting pan, tucking the wing tips under. Tie the drumsticks together with twine. Roast until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees F, about 15 minutes per pound. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Whisk the reserved 2 tablespoons flavored butter into your gravy just before serving, if desired.

Cook’s Note

This recipe is not for a Kosher Bird, which is already brined. Use only for a frozen or fresh bird.

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