Thanksgiving is coming so I decided it was high time I posted my brining recipe. I’ve been brining our Thanksgiving turkey for years now because we think it’s the best thing to do for a turkey. Brining involves soaking your turkey for several hours in a salt water solution which guarantees a moist and juicy turkey every time. You add sugar to balance out the salt, plus a bunch of spices and aromatics which infuses your turkey with delicate flavor. If you have someone like my brother-in-law, Anthony, who can fry the turkey after brining, whoo-ee! You’ll think you’ve died and gone to turkey heaven.
I find that using a brining bag or turkey-sized oven bag is a huge help. Put the turkey and brining solution into the bag, then squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing it which ensures the turkey is fully immersed in the brining solution. Then the whole thing goes into the fridge or if you don’t have room in the fridge (I never do), you can put it into a cooler filled with ice or ice packs where it brines for the required number of hours. Just keep replacing the ice as you need to. If you can’t find a brining bag, you can brine your turkey directly in a large bucket or in a cooler that’s just large enough to fit the turkey. I’ve heard it said that it’s best to brine fresh turkeys because frozen turkeys are usually injected with a salt water solution, but I’ve brined frozen turkeys and Butterball turkeys and they’ve turned out just fine.
(For 14-16 lb. turkey or any poultry)
- 1 gallon vegetable broth
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tbsp. crushed dried rosemary
- 2 tbsp. dried sage
- 2 tbsp. dried thyme
- 2 tbsp. dried savory
- 1 gallon ice water
- In a large stock pot, combine broth, salt, sugar, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory.
- Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- When broth mixture is cool, pour into a brining bag or a large, clean bucket.
- Stir in the ice water.
TO BRINE TURKEY
- Wash and dry turkey. Make sure to remove the innards.
- Place turkey breast side down into brining bag, making sure cavity gets filled.
- Squeeze as much air as you can out of brining bag before sealing tightly.
- Place brining bag in refrigerator or in a cooler filled with ice or several ice packs.
- Brine for 1 hour per pound; turn bird halfway through brining.
- Remove turkey carefully, draining off excess brine. Discard brine.
- Rinse bird inside and out with cold water.
- Place on roasting rack and pat dry very well.
- Remember brined turkeys cook 20-30 minutes faster so watch the temperature when roasting.
NOTE: Thaw turkey 3-4 days in refrigerator before brining.