blood orange tea brined turkey

Blood Orange Sweet Tea Brined Turkey


When I’m cooking at home I almost never duplicate a turkey recipe. But year after year this one has become such a big hit that it became the exception. I’ve done everything from buttermilk brined, to butter injected, which I’ve posted a recipe to on my page and while those are nice, this is the one that I bring out for special occasions and keep coming back to. Just making the brine fills my home with the pleasant scent of oranges and aromatic and that tells me that this one is going to be good. And what I especially like about blood orange tea is the mild flavorful notes it imparts into the meat. This turkey brine is succulent, flavorful and pleasing to all who try it. It’s also important to note that the tannins in the tea act like a natural tenderizer so this will also work on a whole pork loin.

If you like a dipping sauce, please also consider using our Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce, or Texas Tang BBQ Sauce, both of which can be found at H-E-B Grocery Store for Texas residents.

blood orange sweet-tea brined turkey recipe

Blood Orange Sweet Tea Brined Turkey

Mark Gabrick
For the tastiest turkey ever, brine a whole bird in the South's signature beverage but with an orange twist. Professional chefs and home cooks rely on an old-fashioned technique of brining, which helps keep the meat juicy and flavorful without giving it a salty taste. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 d
Course Main Course, Thanksgiving Dinner
Cuisine American, Thanksgiving Dinner
Servings 8


  • Brining Bucket. (we like:
  • Roasting pan
  • BBQ Smoker or Grill
  • Measuring spoons and cups


  • 4 Tea bags or tea balls Family-sized Tea bags (large) Blood-Orange Smoothie Herbal Tea from, The Spice and Tea Echange.
  • 1 Cup Firmly Packed light Brown sugar
  • 1 Cup Kosher Salt Course, Blue box
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2 Lemons thinly sliced
  • 6 Garlic Cloves Smashed
  • 4 Sprigs Rosemary Smash to release oils
  • 2 tbsp Black Pepper Butcher ground (16 mesh)
  • I Gal Water Filtered
  • 3 Cup Ice Cubes
  • 1/3 Cup Peanut Oil
  • 1 Cup Clarified butter drizzle over sliced turkey prior to serving
  • 1 Cup Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce


  • Boil 1 gallon of filtered water and steep 4 large tea bags (or tea balls) for 30 minutes for a concentrated tea blend.
  • Stir in sugar and salt and whisk till granules are completly dissolved.
  • Now, add in the sliced lemons, rosemary sprigs, black pepper, and smashed garlic
  • Add ice cubes to quickly cool brine mixture. (or prepare ahead of time and cool in fridge)
  • Add a 10-14 pound Turkey (or large roaster chicken) in the Brining bucket. We prefer the "The Briner" as it's a long, cyclindrical shaped bucket that helps keep the bird completely submerged and a plate locks in place keeping the turkey under the brining solution. If you do not have this, you can use a heavy plate to keep submerged in a well insulated Yeti like cooler.
  • Pour chilled brining solution over turkey.
  • Brine for 24-36 hours
  • Rinse after removing from brine, dry and coat generously in peanut oil.
  • Smoke, or grill at 275-300º to ensure a crispier skin.
  • Critical step: Allow meat to rest for at least 30 minutes. You can tent with foil and place towels over it, or place in a dry Yeti cooler and let rest while keeping slightly warm.
  • Warm clarified butter in a sauce pan. Drizzle butter over slices and serve.
  • if you desire a BBQ sauce for this recipe, our Sweet Heat sauce pairs perfectly on this one. Find it here:
Keyword Best Turkey Brine, Brined Chicken, Christmas Dinner, Grilled Turkey, Holiday Meal, Oven Roasted Turkey, smoked turkey, Sourthern Turkey Recipe, Sweet tea brine, Thanksgiving Dinner, Thanksgiving Turkey
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