Thursday, November 14, 2013

Brined Turkey

If you are cooking a farm raised, pastured turkey this Thanksgiving you'll notice it's a bit drier than the supermarket ones, no matter how much you baste.  That's due to no injections of moisture holding solutions!  To make your turkey moister, you can brine it before you put it in to roast.

Brined Turkey

2 1/2 gallons water (you can sub 1 bottle of white wine in for that amount of the water if you have a wine you like - I use Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc for this)
1 1/2 cups kosher flake salt
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (or 4 quartered lemons if you have them)
8 sprigs of rosemary
8 juniper berries, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 T peppercorns

Before you begin, decide what you're going to put your turkey in!  If it's not too large, you may be able to get it and the brining liquid in a very large stockpot.  I use Ziploc X-tra large bags - Amazon carries them here.  

In a large container, mix 1 1/2 gallons of the water (sub the wine in here if you're going that way) and all the rest of the ingredients, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Rinse off the turkey and place in your brining container.  This is where I put the open back in my largest stockpot.  Put the turkey into the bag and add the brining mixture.  It really helps at this step to have another person helping so they can hold the bag upright!  Add additional water until the turkey is completely submerged.  Seal the bag (or cover the container you're using) and put in the refrigerator for 1 to 1/2 days - and yes, brining time is a matter of personal preference!  Some people would never dream of brining a turkey for longer than half a day and others don't consider it done before 2 days.  You have leeway!  

I also use packing tape to hold the bag upright above my stockpot as in the photo below.

Rinse and dry off before roasting with your usual recipe.

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