My Favorite Turkey Brine

imageThanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays!  Yes, I stress about the shopping and the cooking and everything that goes along  with hosting a holiday feast, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Since I began hosting Thanksgiving, my biggest worry was that I was going to overcook the turkey, and it was going to be tough and dry (no matter how much gravy you put on it).  Then I discovered brining.  It’s like a little insurance policy that you will not screw up your turkey!

WHY BRINE YOUR TURKEY?

Turkey is a lean bird and does not have a lot of fat (especially the breast).  Brining helps keep the meat from becoming tough and dry.

A brine is a combination of water and salt (and I use herbs).  During brining, the turkey absorbs the salt and water and gets seasoned from the inside out!  The salt breaks down some of the turkey’s muscle proteins which helps to prevent the meat from drying up during the long hours of cooking.

I made my first brined turkey 4 years ago and it was a huge hit.  My brother-in-law Chuck was battling cancer and going through aggressive chemo treatments and had some rough days where he didn’t have much of an appetite.  I will never forget how he raved about how delicious my turkey was and that “it was the best turkey he ever had” as he piled his plate with seconds.  I was so happy he was able to eat and really enjoy the feast with us.  That was the last Thanksgiving we had with Chuck, but every year as I prepare to brine my turkey, I smile and think of him and how much he enjoyed that meal, and am so thankful and so lucky to have had him in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!!  “There is Always Something To Be Thankful For” ❤️

TURKEY BRINE INGREDIENTS:

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3 Cups of Apple Juice or Apple Cider

2 gallons Cold Water

4 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Leaves

5 cloves of Garlic, minced

1- 1/2 cups of Kosher Salt

2 cups Brown Sugar

3 Tblespoons Peppercorns

5 whole Bay Leaves

Peel of Three Large Oranges

 

PREPARATION:

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Stir until salt and sugar dissolve.  Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and cover.

imageAllow to cool completely, then pour into a large brining bag or pot.  Place uncooked turkey in brine solution, then refrigerate for 16-24 hours.

I used a HEFTY XXL ziplock bag and cooler to brine the turkey.

imageWhen ready to roast turkey, remove turkey from brine.  Submerge turkey in a pot or sink of fresh, cold water.  Allow to sit in clean water for 15 minutes to remove excessive salt from the outside.

Discard brine.  Remove turkey from clean water, pat dry, and cook according to your normal roasting method.

 

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