TFM Recipe for Turkey Brine

brining turkey

Submerge the Bird!

If every Thanksgiving your turkey is still dry, you’re doing it wrong. The good news is that it’s not too late to fix things for Thursday. Whether it’s you who’s cooking or a family member, I have two pieces of advice: FRESH TURKEY and BRINE.

They go hand in hand actually … one doesn’t become magic without the other. See, the old school frozen bird needs to remain a thing of the past. Sure, you can go the deep fryer route, but that’s a production of a whole ‘nother nature. Just know that a fresh bird that sits in a  brine for at least a day can then be cooked to perfection and it will renew your faith in juicy birds.

Here’s What To Do:

For a 16 to 20 pound turkey:

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt (1 cup of salt per gallon of water is the general rule here … )
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 stems fresh thyme
  • 3 stems fresh sage
  • 2 to 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (remove the leaves, discard the stems)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley (stems okay here)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • the peel of  a good-sized orange
  • 1 gallon (at least) of  water

With everything in the pot, bring it to a boil and then let it FULLY cool back to room temperature.

Submerge the turkey in the pot (it helps to put it breast side down and make sure the innards are removed first) and put saran wrap over the top. Weigh down the bird so it stays submerged and leave it be for at least 24 hours before cooking for your feast. In fact, if you can go for 36 hours of brining, your bird will be even better. Be sure to refrigerate or set the pot in a cool area during this time.

Then follow your usual turkey cooking recipe, but pat the bird dry before placing it in the oven. Remember, fresh herbs are better so why skimp now? Once you’ve had a fresh juicy brined turkey, you will never look at a frozen Butterball ever again. Happy Thanksgiving!!

(And remember to say thanks to your good friend Angie C …)

photo credit: Christina Xu

About Angie C

Angie C is our resident sustainable single mom. A social media content queen and on-air radio personality in Boston, Angie got her start during the heydays of alt rock in the '90s at the legendary WFNX and can now be found on Mix1041.com or WZLX most weekends. An avid foodie trying to make her family dinner table more sustainable one step at a time, she can easily be seduced to the dark side with a hunk of sottocinere (truffle cheese) or a beautiful heirloom tomato.

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One Response to TFM Recipe for Turkey Brine

  1. JGarrido November 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    That seems like more salt than the norm, no?

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