Brined and roasted turkey from the Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate

Chef Sean Eckman
Biltmore Estate
A classic Thanksgiving spread, Biltmore style

Executive Chef Sean Eckman of the 4-star Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate created this updated turkey recipe based on the 1904 menu book in Biltmore’s archives. A brine time of up to 24 hours makes this bird extra succulent. 

Preparation time: 8 hours

Cooking Time: 4 hours 30 minutes


1 18–20 pound turkey


2 gallons water

½ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 cups kosher salt

3 tablespoons black peppercorns

2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons yellow or brown mustard seeds

2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds

1 tablespoon whole cloves

12 cloves fresh garlic

3 sprigs fresh thyme

Roasting ingredients

1 brined turkey

1 stick unsalted butter melted

Salt and pepper to taste

Butcher’s twine


Brine method: You will need a heavy-duty plastic brining bag and an ice chest large enough to hold a 20-pound turkey.

In a four-quart saucepot, combine 2 quarts of water, vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, red pepper, mustard seeds and fennel. Simmer the brine for 5 minutes, making sure that salt and sugar have dissolved, and then let cool to room temperature.

Crush garlic cloves.

Fill quarter of ice chest with ice. Place turkey in bag, along with cooled salt-water mixture, crushed garlic, thyme, and remaining water. Tie securely and cover with as much ice as cooler will hold, packing around sides and top. Let brine overnight and up to 24 hours.

Roasting method: You will need butcher’s twine and a roasting rack.

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a roasting pan and roasting rack. Remove turkey from brine, pat dry with paper towels, and place in a roasting pan, breast side up.

Let stand at room temperature 45-60 minutes. Brush all over with butter and season liberally with salt and pepper, including inside the cavity. Tuck wings under turkey and tie legs together with twine.

Cook 2 ½-3 hours, basting every 30 minutes, until internal temperature of 165°F is achieved in the thickest part of dark meat.

Let rest 30 minutes before carving.