Tuesday, November 25, 2008

PW’s Turkey Brine

Since I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately, I haven’t had a chance to wrangle together my homemade brine mixture to photograph for you. I hope to do that later in the day Tuesday, but in case you need the ingredients/instructions right now, here it is:

This is enough for a 20-lb turkey; you can decrease the quantity for a smaller bird.

2 gallons water
2 cups apple juice
2 cups kosher salt (can decrease to 1 1/2 cups if you’re concerned about salt)
2 cups brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 bay leaves
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoons dried rosemary
Peel of 2 oranges (I just roughly slice off the orange part of the peel (not much white pith) with a sharp knife, then give it a rough chop to release all the citrus-y wonderfulness)

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat immediately, cover, and allow mixture to come to room temperature. Cool mixture in the fridge until you’re ready.

To brine the turkey, remove turkey from wrapper, remove gross bags, and rinse thoroughly under cool water. Place the turkey into a plastic brining bag (available at many kitchen shops, maybe even stores like Target) OR a very large pot. Pour cool brine mixture over the top, adding extra cold water if you need more to cover. Seal bag or cover pot and allow turkey to brine in refrigerator for 8 to 18 hours before roasting.

Before roasting, remove turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry. Discard brine.


IMPORTANT BRINE NOTE: I forgot to mention that when you brine your turkey, the drippings are quite salty. For this reason, it is VERY important that you use a no-sodium (or low-sodium) chicken broth when you make the turkey gravy. Also, I often will cut the drippings with the giblet water to decrease the saltiness.

IMPORTANT BRINE NOTE 2: Many frozen turkeys are injected with a sodium solution—it’s best NOT to brine these turkeys! Brining fresh turkeys is the way to go.


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