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Unread 11-16-2009, 11:50 PM   #1
Babbling Farker
Join Date: 05-04-08
Location: Boise, Idaho
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Default The Ultimate Thanksgiving Turkey Brine (pic)

I've tried many brine concoctions for my holiday birds, and I've settled on this one, at least for now. Give it a try and drop me a line to tell me what you think. This recipe works very well for both smoking or traditional roasting, and with Thanksgiving just days away, there's not really a better time to post it.


  • 1 1/2 gal Ice water (lots of ice)
  • 1/2 gal Hot tap water
  • 2 cups Dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning (available in most grocery stores)
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice (Asian section of most grocery stores -- I like the Sun Luck brand)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Extra ice as needed
  • Get a clean food-safe five-gallon bucket, wash it, then sanitized it with a gallon of water and a capful of bleach.
  • Make the ice water in the bucket.
  • Bring the tap water to a boil in a stock pot or large pan.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the salt, sugar, citrus juice and all of the seasonings.
  • Let the seasoning mixture sit in the pan, stirring occasionally, until all of the salt and sugar are dissolved.
  • Add the water and seasoning mixture to the ice water in the bucket.
  • Gently submerge the turkey in the brine, breast-side-down. Oh, and make sure you've removed both pouches of innards.
  • Note: It must be completely submerged, so add more ice and water if necessary. If the turkey tends to float, you can seal a rock in a zip-top bag and stuff it in the cavity.
  • Set the bucket in the coldest place you can find (I put mine outside or in the garage), cover with foil, wrap with a sleeping bag or blankets, and let sit at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
  • Caution: It's critical that the brine be kept at or under 40º throughout the entire brining process, so check the ice and add more as needed.
  • An hour before you're ready to cook the turkey, lift it gently and slowly from the brine, allowing it to drain completely. I turn it over just to make sure.
  • Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
  • Rub the skin with canola oil and roast or smoke as desired.

P.S. This recipe and many others can be found on my blog.
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