Turkey Techniques: Herbs, Rubs, Brining, Roasting

Make your turkey the star of the table with herbs, rubs, brining and roasting.

Our turkey technique guide has all the tips you need to make your dinner guests rush to the table. Infuse it with herbs by making patterns underneath the skin, brine it or roast it to serve the juiciest bird around.

Technique 1: Herb Patterns
Herbs aren’t only savoury, flavourful and aromatic, the sprigs and leaves are beautiful aesthetic touches to your presentation! Use their rustic looks to create gorgeous patterns under the skin of your turkey, while also adding fresh bursts of flavour.

  1. Gather one or many of these popular fresh herbs: sage leaves, rosemary stems, Italian parsley sprigs, whole bay leaves or strands of thyme
  2. Run your fingers underneath the skin to loosen it (the skin is sturdy and won’t tear) and arrange a generous amount of fresh herbs in a pattern on either side of the breastbone
  3. Brush the turkey with oil, butter or a combination
  4. Season and bake as desired

Technique 2: Rubs

These recipes make enough to flavour a 9-kilogram (20-pound) turkey.

Fresh Herb Rub
45 millilitres (3 tablespoons) chopped fresh rosemary
45 millilitres (3 tablespoons) chopped fresh thyme
45 millilitres (3 tablespoons) chopped fresh tarragon
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) freshly ground black pepper
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) kosher salt

Lemon, Garlic and Oregano Rub
45 millilitres (3 tablespoons) finely grated lemon peel
45 millilitres (3 tablespoons) finely chopped garlic
45 millilitres (3 tablespoons) chopped fresh oregano
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) freshly ground black pepper
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) kosher salt

Smoky Spice Rub
45 millilitres (3 tablespoons) ground coriander
23 millilitres (1 1/2 tablespoons) smoked paprika
23 millilitres (1 1/2 tablespoons) paprika
23 millilitres (1 1/2 tablespoons) ground cumin
10 millilitres (2 teaspoons) ground cinnamon
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) freshly ground black pepper
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) kosher salt


  1. Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry with paper towels
  2. Brush lightly with oil
  3. Apply the rub over the entire turkey
  4. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight on a rimmed tray to catch drips
  5. Let stand at room temperature one hour before roasting

Technique 3: Brining
Brining is a method that many people view as an essential step toward creating juicy, flavourful meats, especially turkey.

1 5- to 9-kilogram (12- to 20-pound) thawed, rinsed turkey, with giblets and neck removed
1 20-litre (5-gallon) sanitized plastic bucket or a brining bag
4 litres (1 gallon) water, vegetable or chicken broth
250 millilitres (1 cup) kosher salt
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) black peppercorns
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 litres (1 gallon) ice water


  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the ice water and turkey, in a large pot and bring to a boil
  2. Stir until the salt is dissolved
  3. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature
  4. Transfer the mixture to a clean bucket
  5. Add the ice water
  6. Completely submerge the turkey, making sure the cavity is filled with the brining mixture
  7. Cover and refrigerate overnight (12 hours), rotating the turkey once during the process
  8. Remove from the bucket and discard the brine
  9. Rinse the bird and pat dry with paper towels
  10. Prepare your turkey as normal

Technique 4: Roasting
This tried-and-true technique is a perfect way to prepare your turkey.

  1. Before roasting, let turkey warm to room temperature
  2. Read the package directions to determine how long it should sit out
  3. Remove the giblets and neck from cavities
  4. Rinse the turkey inside and out, let it drain, and then pat dry with paper towels
  5. Preheat oven to the temperature recommended on package directions
  6. Place the turkey breast-side up in a shallow roasting pan
  7. Brush with melted butter, and then loosely cover with aluminium foil
  8. Roast, basting with pan drippings every 30 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in the turkey reads 77 C (170 F) in the breast and 82 C (180 F) in the thigh

A turkey is done if the leg moves up and down with ease, the hip joint gives easily and the juices are clear, not pink, when the thickest part of the inner thigh is pierced with a fork.

Remember — no matter how you prepare your turkey, the key is getting everyone together and enjoying it!



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