Thanksgiving is 2 days away, and I was up bright and early this morning getting my turkey prepped for the big day.
Everyone has a different favorite method for their bird, I’m a briner.
Why? Well, I am of the school of thought that the moisture lost through roasting has to be replaced somehow otherwise you’ll end up with a dry turkey, and basting seems like a lot of work. Brining 24-48 hours beforehand will start breaking down proteins to add in moisture retention, and well as giving you room to play with flavors you’d like to infuse the meat with.
How To: Turkey Brine
what you need:
12 cups of water, divided
1 cup kosher salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
handful of sage
handful of thyme
handful of rosemary
1 tablespoon pepper
4 cups of ice
2 oven roasting bags, turkey size
fresh (or well thawed) turkey…. NON- KOSHER! (you can’t brine a kosher turkey or it will be too salty)
what to do:
- boil 4 cups of water.
- add salt and sugar, stir until dissolved.
- remove from heat.
- add the remaining 8 cups of cold water, apple cider vinegar, sage, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and ice.
prep brining vessel:
- use the first oven roasting bag to line a large pot or roasting pan (big enough for your turkey to lay in, but small enough to fit in your fridge).
- rinse your turkey, pat dry, then place it evenly into the bottom of the other roasting bag.
- pour brining mixture into bag with turkey, squeeze our as much air as possible, and tie a knot into the top of the bag.
- place the bagged-n-brined turkey into the lined pot or pan WITH THE KNOT ON THE TOP and tuck it away in the fridge.
- because this pot or pan will live in your fridge for the next day or two, try to put it in the back out of your way, the last thing you want is to have to move it every time you want to get the milk.
Halfway through your brining time (at the 12 hour mark or the 24 hour mark depending on how soon you started this), flip the brined turkey bag over in its vessel so the knot is on the bottom, ensuring a consistent brining time for the whole turkey. This may (will) leak, that’s why you’ve lined the pot or pan with a second bag.
When you’re ready to roast, pull the turkey out of the bag, rinse well, pat dry, and proceed as you wish. I personally like to slather it with herbs with this recipe from Martha Stewart.
I can pretty confidently say that once your brine a turkey you will probably never go back… it yields fantastic results with very little effort.