As tawdry as that may sound, it’s essential to a tasty and moist turkey during your upcoming holiday season!
Let’s first make it clear that a recipe is for guidance, and the variants that you can spin off of a recipe are as broad as a Thanksgiving Day parade! With a brine, I will give you my basic recipe, and then you can add your favorite flavor profiles. Basic Brine: 1 Gal Water 1 C Kosher Salt 1 C. Brown Sugar 1 Gal Ice In a large stock pot on your largest stove burner over medium-high heat, add the Water, Salt and Sugar, and stir very often until all is dissolved. Remove from heat and add ice.
How to Brine your Bird:
After removing all the parts from the cavity of your bird, rinse it well and place it in a large container such as a cooler, large cambro, water cooler, etc. I prefer an old water cooler you would see on an old service truck or at the kiddos ball games. Once the brine has cooled (you don’t want to cook the bird!), add the brine to the cooler and keep cold for 8-12 hours. If necessary, add a little ice to keep the water to a maximum of 40°.
I do find keeping your bird in the brine too long may make the bird mush, but even a couple hours in the brine will make the difference. Now let’s chat about flavor profiles! I like to add to my brine a little pickling mix (bay leaves, mustard seed,cloves, red pepper flakes, allspice, coriander, ginger, cinnamon sticks) and apples. See, this is where you can get as crazy as my cat on catnip, you can try all the fruits like peaches, oranges, grapefruit, melons, etc., then you can add the bourbon, wines, liqueurs, etc, juices, seasoning for any ethnic profile from Texan, Hindi, Mexican, Italian, etc. to make the bird your own. With all those etc’s, build the better bird!
Once finished brining and you’re ready to get busy cooking the bird, rinse off the bird and pat it dry. Your bird is now ready to proceed with your preferred method of cooking Final note on safety and health, discard all brines down the drain. It will kill your grass and make you or an animal ill if consumed. Wash your hands continuously before, during and after handling the bird and brine. Do not cross contaminate, and clean all surfaces, cutting boards/utensils with bleach water or disinfectant after use. While storing, keep your bird at 40° or below and away from other perishable food before cooking. Cook your bird to at least 165° or more, and enjoy a flavorful and moist turkey this Thanksgiving!
God bless you all! Have a safe and blessed holiday season!