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Friday, November 22, 2013

Yes, You Need to BRINE Your Turkey!

Brining is a wonderfully easy technique that adds moisture and flavor, not to mention MOISTURE to Tom Turkey.  And, no, it won't make your bird too salty! Below is the brine recipe that I'm trying this season, along with the easy how-to steps. Once you try it, you'll be brining your turkey every holiday and you'll never look back. 

6 cups apple cider
1 oz. fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 Tbs. allspice berries
1 Tbs. peppercorns
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 oranges, each cut in half
1 1/2 cups kosher salt

To prepare brine:  Place all ingredients into a large saucepan or stock pot and bring to a boil; whisk until sugar and salt is completely dissolved, then remove from heat and cool in the fridge.

Place thawed, rinsed turkey (I usually get a 15-18 lb. bird) into a large, upright container that will fit into your spare refrigerator or down into a cooler (cooler lid must close) and pour in brine, completely submerging turkey.  (If you don't have an upright cooler that's large enough, you can place bird directly into a sterile cooler, then pour brine into cooler to submerge the turkey.  Sometimes, depending on the size of the cooler, this takes a bit more brine.)  

Let turkey rest in the brine for 12-16 hours, keeping it cool at all times, either in the fridge or with ice added to the cooler.  If your bird is really big, say 22-28 lbs., let it brine even up to 24 hours.

Remove turkey from the brine and rinse well, both inside and out.  Roast turkey using your preferred method.  

**Note:  If you are using the drippings from a brined bird for making gravy, be sure you taste the gravy before adding any seasonings - the drippings tend to be pretty salty.  

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli