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How to Brine and Roast a Turkey

Bell & Evans Turkey Master, Tom Cusack Bell & Evans Turkey Master, Tom Cusack

Tom Cusack, our very own Bell & Evans Controller, has perfected Brining of our Bell & Evans Turkey after years of trial and error.  At the end of 2018, Tom will be ending his illustrious career at Bell & Evans, spending a few months on a remote tropical island. We’re sure that he’ll be back in Pennsylvania in 2019 for another traditional Turkey Brining.  As a parting gift to us, he’s shared his tried and true recipe and method for brining.  Thank you, Master of all Turkeys!  Watch our video below.

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The art of brining

According to Tom, there is an art to turkey brining. It takes proper planning and scheduling.  The brine should be made on a Tuesday evening after work, then put outside in a safe but cool space to chill overnight.  Outside works great for Central Pennsylvania and colder weather.  If you live down South or in warmer temperatures, you should refrigerate your brine.  Wednesday evening, put the turkey in the brine and put the pail back outside to brine it overnight, turning 2-3 times while in the brine.  This ensures the entire turkey soaks in the brine at some point.  Even if it interrupts your beauty sleep.  In the end, it’s all worth it.  You see the smiles on family members’ faces, belly patting and the much-sought-after explanation post-meal.  “Yes.  You are the master of turkeys.”  That doesn’t happen from simply roasting a turkey.

roasting the perfect turkey

Our turkeys have 55% less fat and 25% fewer calories, and are juicy and flavorful. So they cook a little differently than your standard turkey.  We’re going to share a  few of our best kept secrets for Roasting the perfect Bell & Evans Turkey.  First, it’s important to preheat the oven to 425° and bake at that for the first 15 minutes.  That will crisp the skin up before starting the slow roast for the remainder of the time at 325° F.

Second, measure a section of cheesecloth to fit perfectly on your turkey.  Cheesecloth can be found in any grocery store in the baking aisle.  If you’ve always wondered what it’s used for, now you know.

Adding the pre-soaked cheesecloth will ensure that the flavor of the butter sauce and herbs will soak into the turkey and STAY THERE. Second, the turkey can then be basted directly on and through the cheesecloth.  We know… this sounds a little out-of-the-ordinary.  But trust us… it works!

Lastly, even though it will smell so delicious that you want to slice into it as soon as it’s out of the oven, let it rest for about 20 minutes to an hour before serving. That “resting” period will allow some turkey juices to weep, but most of the juiciness will stay in the turkey until you’re ready to slice and serve it.


Did you make this recipe? Tag @BellandEvans on Instagram and hashtag it #TheExcellentChicken


  1. Hal T. says:

    Where is the recipe for the butter sauce and herbs that go on the cheese cloth?

    1. Good catch, Hal! It’s in our Turkey Recipe. Here is a link.

  2. Lori says:

    Does this brine solution sweeten the turkey?

    1. Hi Lori! The acid and the sugars combine to tenderize the turkey. It won’t make it sweet, but if you are concerned, you can cut the brown sugar measurement in half.

  3. Lisa says:

    Do all Bell & Evans turkeys come with a pop up thermometer?

    1. Hi Lisa, only our RWA Whole Turkeys and Turkey Breasts (not Brined or Organic) have the pop-up timer.

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