Having not experienced a brined turkey (or brined anything for that matter) up until a few years ago, I must say that there is quite a difference in taste and tenderness and I encourage those on the ‘to brine or not to brine’ fence to definitely go with the former. After brining, I typically like to prepare the turkey on our smoker (for a super-delicious end-result) but the bird will still taste great when roasted in the oven.
Ingredients (for a whole turkey, around 16 lbs; decrease quantities if preparing brine for a smaller piece of poultry)

  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 c salt (we like to use Redman’s sea salt but regular salt will do just fine)
  • the juice from 2 oranges or lemons
  • 2 bottles/cans of your favorite lager/ale/beer
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • few sprigs of your favorite herbs (rosemary and thyme)
  • cold water or ice (enough to cover the bird once in the bucket)

Directions:

  1. Fill a 6-quart stock pot with ~4 quarts of water; bring to a boil and add the salt, sugar, garlic and herbs.  Stir and continue heating until the sugar and salt are dissolved.  Transfer this mixture to a clean 5 gallon bucket (or other container large and sturdy enough).  Add in the beer and orange/lemon juice and allow to cool for about an hour.  Add the thawed turkey to the bucket and then add enough cold water and/or ice to cover the bird. Cover top of bucket with Saran wrap and place in a refrigerator for ~18 hours. (This is when that spare fridge in the garage comes in handy!)
  2. After the recommended time has passed, remove the turkey from brine and pat dry.  Discard brine.  Allow the turkey to rest for ~30 minutes and then rub olive oil on the skin and sprinkle with pepper.
  3. Bake at 325F for around 4 hours (or until the thermometer reads 170-175F in the thickest part of the turkey).
Turkey Brine
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