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Beautifully Brined Turkey Recipe

Beautifully Brined Turkey

Prep Time Brine for one hour per pound (usually overnight)

Don't let brining intimidate you. You'll get great, savory flavor with these simple steps to the perfect bird.

by Helen Cavallo

What you'll need

  • 2 cups of kosher salt
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 3 oranges cut in half
  • 4 lemons cut in half
  • 8 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 bunch of fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, oregano
  • 7 lb bag of ice

How to make it

1. The night before you want to cook your turkey:

Add 1 gallon of water to a large stockpot with sugar and salt simmer over medium heat.  Allow sugar and salt to dissolve. Do not boil. Simply heat until hot, then let the water cool.

2. If your refrigerator is full, remember you can use a large cooler (don’t forget to line it with an unscented garbage bag) or whatever temperature-controlled vessel can hold your turkey.  Add all your aromatics and squeeze juice from the citrus in as well. Add half the bag of ice to brine and add turkey (giblets removed).  Then pour another gallon of water (or orange juice) to the mixture and submerge the bird.  Everyone’s turkey will want to float, so add a heavy plate to keep it submerged.  Place brine and turkey in the fridge (or cooler).

3. For day of dinner:

Remove turkey from brine, then pat it dry. Spread unsalted butter and sprinkle chopped fresh herbs all over the turkey.  Don’t forget to cook the bird; most turkeys come with roasting instructions relevant to the size of the bird and if it's stuffed or unstuffed.  Make sure the internal temperature of turkey reaches 165 degrees before serving.

Then relax. You’re going to knock everyone’s socks off!

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