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Unread 11-16-2009, 11:50 PM   #1
PatioDaddio
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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.



Ingredients

  • 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
Method
  • 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.
Enjoy,
John

P.S. This recipe and many others can be found on my blog.
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Unread 11-17-2009, 01:24 AM   #2
Blackened
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Thanks for the recipe.. Sounds like a winner!
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Unread 11-17-2009, 07:22 AM   #3
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I am getting ready to do one for our company Thanksgiving lunch next thursday. Thanks for the recipe. I have done one before but didn't have that many ingredients.
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Unread 11-17-2009, 07:38 AM   #4
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I will definitely have to try this one out...thanx!
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Unread 11-17-2009, 07:49 AM   #5
early mornin' smokin'
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assuming 2 gallons is the standard go to, this is my brine, take about a 1/4 gallon of water, boil it, dissolve 2 cups brown, 2 cups kosher. Let cool. Add concentrate to 1 1/2 gallons of water, a cup of Jack Daniel, half gallon of apple cider. Im not a fan of brining with citrus, fear of almost cooking the bird, but im gonna try and throw some old bay in there.
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Unread 11-17-2009, 08:49 AM   #6
boatnut
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thanks John! might have to give that a try next week!
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Unread 11-17-2009, 10:29 AM   #7
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I might have to give this a try. I guess I could use my big-enough cooler for the container instead of a bucket - I would just need to clean and sanitize it at least twice before and after using.

It looks like a really good recipe.
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Unread 11-17-2009, 10:34 AM   #8
early mornin' smokin'
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^^^ get urself some of the 10 or 20 gallon ziploc storage bags, double them up, and pack it in ice, no sanitation needed
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Unread 11-17-2009, 10:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by early mornin' smokin' View Post
assuming 2 gallons is the standard go to, this is my brine, take about a 1/4 gallon of water, boil it, dissolve 2 cups brown, 2 cups kosher. Let cool. Add concentrate to 1 1/2 gallons of water, a cup of Jack Daniel, half gallon of apple cider. Im not a fan of brining with citrus, fear of almost cooking the bird, but im gonna try and throw some old bay in there.
I understand your point about citrus, but in this case it is so diluted that it has no real effect. If anything, it helps denature the protein strands just a little more. The real purpose is to compliment the other spices and add a little brightness to the flavor.

John
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Unread 11-17-2009, 11:38 AM   #10
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Thanks! I'm going to give this one a try this weekend.
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Unread 11-12-2010, 07:45 AM   #11
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how would you change this for an enhanced bird? cut the salt to a half a cup?
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Last edited by bobaftt; 11-12-2010 at 07:54 AM.. Reason: ask a question
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Unread 11-12-2010, 08:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobaftt View Post
how would you change this for an enhanced bird? cut the salt to a half a cup?
Cut it in half (3/4 cup).

John
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Unread 11-12-2010, 09:37 AM   #13
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I'm putting that one in my book for future use! Thanks
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Unread 11-12-2010, 09:49 AM   #14
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thanks john, every year i get a turkey from work. And since I'm rarely in charge of cooking a turkey for our big family meal - I get a freebie to experiment with. Last year I smoked my freebie turkey w/o brine. This year, it's gettin your brine - thanks man.

joe

p.s. I'll try to document the process and give you props on the forum.
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Unread 11-12-2010, 09:57 AM   #15
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That sounds great, going to try it in in about a week!
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