Orange, Tea, Bourbon-Brined Paprika Butter Turkey

Elevating Tradition: Orange, Tea, Bourbon-Brined Paprika Butter Turkey Extravaganza

Prepare to embark on a culinary adventure that will redefine your turkey roasting experience. Our Orange, Tea, Bourbon-Brined Paprika Butter Turkey is a fusion of bold flavors, marrying the warmth of bourbon, the citrusy zest of orange, and the rich depth of paprika-infused butter. This recipe not only promises a perfectly roasted turkey but also a symphony of tastes that will leave your guests raving. Whether you’re hosting a festive gathering or seeking to elevate your holiday feast, this turkey is the epitome of culinary sophistication.


For the Brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 black tea bags
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 gallon water, cold
  • 1 whole turkey (12-14 pounds), thawed

For the Paprika Butter Rub:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

For Roasting:

  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey broth


Brining the Turkey:

  1. In a large pot, combine kosher salt, brown sugar, black tea bags, orange zest, bourbon, and cold water. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  2. Remove the giblets from the turkey and submerge the turkey into the brine. Ensure it is fully covered. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight.

Preparing the Paprika Butter Rub:

  1. In a bowl, mix softened butter, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, black pepper, and salt to taste. Set aside.

Roasting the Turkey:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).
  2. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels.
  3. Gently loosen the skin of the turkey, especially around the breast and thighs, without tearing it.
  4. Rub the paprika butter mixture under the skin and over the surface of the turkey, ensuring an even coating.
  5. Stuff the turkey cavity with sliced oranges, quartered onion, fresh thyme, and rosemary.
  6. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Pour chicken or turkey broth into the bottom of the pan.
  7. Tent the turkey with aluminum foil and roast for approximately 15 minutes per pound. Remove the foil during the last hour to allow the skin to brown.
  8. Baste the turkey with pan juices every 30 minutes.
  9. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F (74°C).
  10. Allow the turkey to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Cook Notes

  • Use a large brining bag for easier handling and clean-up.
  • Ensure the turkey is completely thawed before brining for even absorption of flavors.


Citrus Infusion:

  • Enhance the orange flavor by adding a tablespoon of orange juice concentrate to the paprika butter rub.

Herb Symphony:

  • Experiment with different herbs in the rub, such as sage or marjoram, for a nuanced herbaceous profile.

Maple Bourbon Glaze:

  • Drizzle a glaze made of maple syrup and bourbon over the turkey during the last 30 minutes of roasting for a sweet and glossy finish.

Keto Version

Almond Flour Adaptation:

  • Replace brown sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener like erythritol in the brine.

Ghee Glory:

  • Substitute butter with ghee in the paprika butter rub for a keto-friendly alternative.

Cauliflower Mash Companion:

  • Serve the turkey with a side of cauliflower mash instead of traditional mashed potatoes for a low-carb option.

Low-Carb Version

Stevia Sweetening:

  • Use liquid stevia drops in the brine to replace brown sugar for a low-carb alternative.

Veggie Bed:

  • Place the turkey on a bed of low-carb vegetables like Brussels sprouts or cauliflower florets for added flavor without the carbs.

Herb-Infused Broth:

  • Add fresh herbs like basil and parsley to the broth for a low-carb infusion of aromatic flavors.

The Orange, Tea, Bourbon-Brined Paprika Butter Turkey is more than a recipe; it’s a symphony of flavors that transforms a holiday centerpiece into a culinary masterpiece. Whether you choose to follow the classic preparation or explore keto and low-carb adaptations, each bite is a journey through layers of warmth, citrusy brightness, and savory richness.

As you gather around the table to savor this exceptional turkey, may the aromas and tastes linger as cherished memories. This recipe is an invitation to elevate your festive occasions, to celebrate tradition with a touch of innovation, and to revel in the joy of culinary excellence. Here’s to the art of roasting, the pleasure of savoring, and the magic of a turkey that transcends the ordinary. Enjoy the extraordinary experience of Orange, Tea, Bourbon-Brined Paprika Butter Turkey!

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