I’m always surprised how many people have never heard of brining, much less tried it. This incredibly easy technique is the key to most amazingly juicy turkey you’ve ever eaten. It’s not difficult, and it uses ingredients everyone has at home. All you need is a little time and a vessel large enough to hold the turkey and the brine. So what is it?
A brine is simply a solution of water, salt, sugar and often some other basic flavouring ingredients. These ingredients are mixed and the turkey is submerged in the brine, and allowed to soak refrigerated overnight, or up to 24 hours. The result is the juiciest bird you’ve ever eaten with a virtually fool-proof technique. Ready to try?
2 gallons water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
3-4 bay leaves
a dozen or so black peppercorns
1 lemon, halved
1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
Step 1: Ensure your turkey is fully thawed. A frozen bird will not absorb the solution and the brining will be all for not.
Step 2: Mix all ingredients in a large stockpot, big enough to hold the turkey and the brine solution. If you don’t have a pot large enough, use a cooler.
Step 3: Submerge the turkey in the solution, what you have at this point should look something like this:
Step 4: If using a cooler, add in a large quantity of ice to keep the solution very cold, and place in a cold place like a garage or a safe place outside. If using a stock pot, place in the refrigerator.
Step 5: Allow to soak overnight, or up to 24 hours. For a large turkey, the brine needs a minimum of 6 hours to have an effect, though longer is desired.
Step 6: Remove from the brine, pat dry and roast as usual!
That’s it, and this technique works on ALL poultry, so don’t hesitate to try it and put the usual BBQ’d chicken over the top. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and happy brining!