Brining is a salt marinade which causes the meat tissues to absorb water and flavorings by breaking down the proteins. This is why brining is a popular method of preparing a Thanksgiving turkey because any moisture loss while roasting still produces a juicy and flavorful turkey. Make sure that your turkey is not pre-brined or salted, otherwise you’ll have one salty bird!
You can also make your mixture ahead of time, since it has to cook then cool, try doing it the day before and then pop in the fridge to let it cool and really let the spices combine..
Here are a few options on how to make room to do this….
Wash and sanitized the bottom meat drawer of the refrigerator, usually big enough and it’s made to fit in the fridge, put your turkey in the bag than in the drawer, then you can just turn it over right in the drawer!!
Another method to minimize cleanup, line a 5-gallon container with a large brining or oven-roasting bag. Place turkey in bag. Add salt mixture, remaining water, and the other ingredients. Tie bag; if turkey is not submerged, weight it with a plate. Refrigerate for 24 hours, flipping turkey once.
If there isn’t room in your refrigerator, place the bagged bird inside a cooler, and surround it with ice, replenishing as necessary to keep it at 40 degrees.
It’s important to reiterate not to use a self basting, pre-seasoned, or kosher turkey.
Here’s a couple of brine recipes, plus you can buy brine seasonings already all compiled and you won’t have to do anything but mix, or create your own….
First here’s The Pioneer Woman’s Brine click to take you to her sight.
Turkey Brine I
- 1 gallon vegetable broth
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried savory
- 1 gallon ice water
- In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
- When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.
- Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
- Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature
Turkey Brine II
- 12 cups water, divided
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sage
- 2 tablespoons thyme
- 2 tablespoons rosemary
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 4 cups ice
- Bring 4 cups of water to a simmering boil. Add salt and sugar. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn off the heat. Stir in 8 cups cold water, apple cider vinegar, sage, thyme, rosemary, pepper, and ice. The brine is ready to be used.
- Remove giblets and neck from the cavity. Rinse the outside and inside of a thawed turkey. Using paper towels, pat the turkey dry. Complete submerge the turkey in a large soup pot bigger than the bird and cover with a lid. Allow the turkey to marinate for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days. Rinse turkey and pat dry before adding additional seasoning, butter, or oil in preparation for roasting. Cook as directed..