Closeup of turkey slices on a plate with rosemary and apple slice. The full breast is in the background on a platter.

Brined Turkey Breast

Brined Turkey Breast (AIP/Paleo) proves that turkey need not be dry! For those who love white meat, or just don’t want to cook a whole bird.

A full Brined Turkey Breast sits on a platter garnished with kale and apple slices.  There are apples in the background and a kale butternut squash salad.
Brined Turkey Breast (AIP/Paleo)

OK, y’all. I’ve done it. For years, I have avoided doing an AIP/Paleo turkey. Maybe it seemed too daunting(?). Instead, I’ve danced all around it by making recipes for everything else that goes on a holiday table…

(Please see Everything But The Bird, a growing collection of recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts for your holiday.)

A small plate of Brined Turkey Breast sits near a platter holding the turkey breast, garnished with kale leaves and apples slices.
So pretty on the table!

But now, the BIRD.

I have people in my family who love white meat, but object to white meat that is DRY. To combat dryness, I decided to brine the meat, similar to what I did in my Brined Cornish Game Hens recipe, but with a different flavor profile. Soaking the meat in a bath of salt water loosens the proteins, and makes the meat retain water – just like when we eat salty food and retain water!

The process is not difficult. It just takes time…

Closeup of turkey slices on a plate with rosemary and apple slice. The full breast is in the background on a platter.
Not dry! It even falls apart!

About Brining

The brining we’re using in this recipe is a salt water bath as opposed to a “dry brine.” There is a magical window of time for brining a big ol’ breast like this: at least 12 hours, but not as many as 24 hours. If you put the meat to brine before you go to bed the night before serving, that’ll be about right.

If you’ve never done it before, it might seem unfamiliar. It’s not hard. Dissolve a bunch of Kosher salt in water (in this case, I’m using a tiny bit of maple sugar or syrup, too), let the water cool, then completely submerge the meat in the salt water. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours. I did 20 hours.

You’ll need a big pot to accommodate the meat and have it completely covered by the water. It’ll need to fit in your refrigerator, so test your pot before you begin!

Whatever holiday you are celebrating, I wish you the very best! And, as usual, I am wishing you great love and deep healing.

๐Ÿ’—,

Wendi

P.S. For all your baking stuff, snag your copy of my cookbook, The Autoimmune Protocol Baking Book! Click here to check it out!

Cover photo for The Autoimmune Protocol Baking Book. There is a tumble of cookies, muffins, graham crackers, and a pie!
At last! A BAKING book for the AIP community!

Brined Turkey Breast

Recipe by Wendi’s AIP Kitchen – http://www.wendisaipkitchen.com Course: MainCuisine: AIP, Paleo, ThanksgivingDifficulty: Medium
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

25

minutes
Cooking time

2

hours 
Refrigerate

20

hours

Brined Turkey Breast (AIP/Paleo) proves that turkey need not be dry! For those who love white meat, or just don’t want to cook a whole bird.

Ingredients

  • 16 cups (1 gallon) water

  • 1 cup Kosher salt

  • 1 TBSP maple sugar or pure maple syrup

  • 5 lb. bone-in, skin-on turkey breast, not injected with any solutions

  • 1 large onion, sliced

  • 1/4 cup unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice

  • 1 TBSP finely chopped fresh rosemary

  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 tsp rubbed sage (dried)

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  • START THE DAY BEFORE SERVING. Before beginning anything, ensure you have a big pot that will accommodate your turkey breast AND still fit in your refrigerator. Got one? Awesome. Then put the pot on the stove over high heat with the water, salt and sugar in it. Stir until everything dissolves. Take it off the heat, and cool it completely. (Note: this next part should be done the night before you plan to serve.) When the brine is cool, submerge your turkey breast. Make sure the water covers it all the way. Pop that baby in the refrigerator for roughly 20 hours, but not more than 24 hours.
  • Three hours before serving, spread onion slices on the bottom of a 9X12″ baking dish. Remove turkey breast from brine, and place it atop the onions. Discard brine. Pat turkey down with a paper towel. Let sit on the counter for 1 hour to come to room temperature.
  • Two and a half hours before serving, preheat oven to 350ยบF. In a small bowl, whisk together apple juice, rosemary, vinegar, garlic powder, thyme, sage and salt. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Liberally brush some of this mixture over the turkey. Reserve the rest of the mixture.
  • Bake turkey uncovered for 15 minutes. Baste again with mixture and any liquid which may have rendered in the dish. Continue baking and basting every 15 minutes until internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 170ยบF, about 2 hours. Slice and serve!

Notes

  • Please see Everything But The Bird, a growing collection of GF/AIP/Paleo recipes for accompaniments from appetizers to desserts for your holiday.

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