Citrus Brine Roasted Turkey – The New Texas Christmas Family Tradition

by Chris Kirksey
Smoked Turkey on a round Primo BBQ Grill

There’s so much to love about Texas, and the weather is one of the best. It allows us to have great, big family Christmas dinners in our outdoor kitchens, which helps lower utility bills, extends entertaining space, and increases the value of your home. Best of all, it brings the whole family together for savory, healthy meals that make incredible memories. 

Cooking in an outdoor kitchen is a delightful experience anytime you do it, but holidays make it extra special. The warmth from the oven mixes with the tantalizing scents of what’s inside, giving every moment a magical feeling.

It’s important to remember that grills can be drying, especially for the novice outdoor chef. One way to stop a dry Christmas turkey in its tracks is to brine it before it hits the grill. Brining is a simple move that results in a flavor that fools your guests into thinking you’re a gourmet chef. 

We’ve got a holiday recipe for a super moist, brine-roasted turkey made in one of our favorite Primo grills for you to check out and a few fun facts about how brining makes poultry so moist and flavorful. Let’s eat, y’all!


The Basics of Brine Roasting


Brining is helpful to any cut of meat, regardless of cooking method. It boosts flavor, increases tenderness, and reduces cooking time. Brine is essentially a mixture of salt and water that was originally used to preserve meats before refrigeration was an option. 

It’s used today to infuse incredible flavor and moisture into meats by soaking them overnight in a mixture with much less salt and the addition of tasty herbs and spices. Today’s brine recipe calls for oranges, lemons, limes, and some fresh garden herbs. Don’t be surprised when uninvited guests show up after your neighborhood fills with the delectable aroma of citrus-infused turkey roasting in your outdoor kitchen!


Citrus Brine Roasted Christmas Turkey


The punchy mixture of lemon-lime citrus with savory herbs such as rosemary, sage, and garlic make this holiday meal hard to forget. You won’t have any trouble with leftovers this year!

This Primo grill recipe takes one whole, thawed, 8 to 10 lb. turkey. It serves 8 people.


Brine Ingredients


  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 0.25 cup lemon juice
  • 0.25 cup lime juice
  • 0.5 cups honey
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp pickling spice
  • 0.25 cup Italian parsley
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 3 leaves fresh sage
  • 1 whole orange peel
  • 1 whole lemon peel
  • 1 whole lime peel
  • 1 gallon of water


Compound Butter Ingredients


  • 1.5 cups softened unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


Get all your ingredients ready to go – it’s time to prepare the turkey!


Preparing the Brine and Turkey


Brining the turkey happens before it is roasted in the Primo grill. Started this process the day before the meal.


1. Prepare


Combine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.


2. Remove from the Heat and Allow to Cool for 45 Minutes 


Add ice to the pot to create 2 gallons of brine mixture and stir until the ice has melted.


3. Place the Turkey in a Large Plastic Bag or Food-Safe Bucket


Add the brine mixture and refrigerate for 12–24 hours.


4. Prepare Compound Butter


Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Place the butter mixture on a large piece of clear plastic wrap. Form the mixture into a long log roll and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate.


5. Remove the Turkey from the Brine within 24 hours 


Rinse and pat dry.


6. Remove the Compound Butter from the Refrigerator 


Allow the compound butter to soften


7. Add the Citrus


Insert the orange, lemon, and lime wedges into the turkey’s cavity. Truss the turkey with butcher’s string. Rub the compound butter over all the skin areas of the turkey.


Cooking with the Primo Round Charcoal Grill


Using the Primo Round Charcoal Grill is a holiday in itself. You have all the room you need to cook in your patented Texas style, with 280 square inches of primary cooking area. It’s no problem to relocate at only 200 lbs.  

The All-In-One package includes everything you need to get started: the grill head, an ergonomic handle, a cradle stand, side tables, an ash tool, and a grate lifter. All options are the perfect way to complete your grill purchase. Your Christmas turkey is about to make headlines. 


1. Fill the Grill with Charcoal, Light It, and Heat to 250°F (120°C)


Add wood chunks for flavor and additional aroma.


2. Insert the Heat Deflector Racks and Plates 


Place a drip pan on the plates and insert the main cooking grates.


3. Place the Turkey on the Main Cooking Grates


Roast for 2 hours. Increase the temperature to 350°F (175°C) and baste with more compound butter. 

Baste each hour of cooking. Tenting it with aluminum foil can help if the skin becomes too dark.

Target internal temperatures at 165°F (74°C) for the breast and 185°F (85°C) for the thigh. Remove from the grill when internal temperatures are reached and allow it to rest uncovered for 20–30 minutes.

Christmases in your outdoor kitchen are something unique and special that your family will talk about through the generations. Flavorful and flamboyant dishes like this citrus-brined turkey combine comfort food with creativity that makes using the Primo round charcoal grill in y our outdoor kitchen more fun than ever, and they make wonderful gifts for the family chef.


Ready to Get Your Outdoor Kitchen Set up This Christmas?


We know how to help with everything from design and planning to delivery and installation, whether you love to cook four-course meals or just a great pizza in your outdoor living space. Check out our website to see all the great grills, smokers and other products to transform your yard into the ultimate luxury spot. Give us a call today, and you could be outside cooking in no time.