Good Question: Basting Turkey with Brandy

updated Jun 4, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Has anyone tried brandy as a marinade for turkey? On an old Martha Stewart show I recall Martha Stewart was in the home of an elderly Cuban woman who showed her how she prepared her turkey. The woman either marinated it or basted it with brandy. She placed the turkey in a roaster with the breast part laying down basting in the brandy. Martha had never heard of this before but did comment on how delicious and tender this bird came out.

I was wondering if anyone knew this recipe? I’d appreciate your responses! – Cielo

(To All Good Questions)

This sounded delicious, but I had never heard of it either. I did some reading and searching but found very little in the way of instructions for basting a turkey with brandy. I did come across some promising recipes that included brandy in a glaze or in the gravy, like these: Apple Cider Turkey Breast and Apple Brandy Turkey.

This wasn’t very satisfying, however, and I just could not find the specific Martha show you mentioned. So I decided to try it myself. I bought a six-pound turkey breast, rubbed it liberally with kosher salt and some pepper, slipped some sage under the skin, then put it breast down in the pan and poured about a cup of brandy over it.

It roasted at 325ºF for about an hour and a half, and then I flipped the breast over and raised the temperature to 400º for another 45 minutes, to brown the skin. I basted every half hour or so. When the breast reached an internal temperature of 170ºF I took it out.

The verdict? A very moist turkey breast with some nice glazing and flavor from the brandy on the skin, but I am unsure whether the moistness was due to the brandy or not. Ultimately, I would advise trying one of the above recipes, which look very good. Or perhaps someone has some other advice – does anyone remember that Martha episode? Does anyone else baste their turkey with brandy?